WHEN AIDS SETS IN
It is not possible to say exactly what symptoms and diseases will be associated with HIV-infection in a specific person. Because of the unique way in which HIV attacks and disarms the immune system, all kinds of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses and cancers are able to invade the body. That is the reason why we talk about AIDS as a syndrome – a collection of many illnesses and infections.
When the immune system is compromised (for example, by HIV/AIDS), Cytomegalovirus is activated and can cause infections.
Lymphomas are cancers that develop in the lymph system, which is part of the body’s immune system. Therefore, people with HIV/AIDS are susceptible to lymphoma.
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection caused by a pox virus. The infection produces pearly nodules that can occur in clusters anywhere on the body. Although it normally only affects children, among adults with HIV/AIDS, the infection can be extensive.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, is a disease that attacks the brain. It is caused by a virus called JC virus (JCV), which is common among the general population and normally harmless. In people with advanced HIV/AIDS, JCV attacks the myelin sheaths around the nerve and brain cells, and causes lesions in the white matter of the brain.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus, or VZV).
Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS)
Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is a type of malignant tumour of the blood vessels that develops most commonly on the skin and mucous membranes, but may also affect internal organs.
One of the opportunistic diseases that can strike down people with HIV/AIDS is Cryptosporidiosis (“crypto”) is caused by a germ called Cryptosporidium parvum.
Candidiasis, also known as “Candida” or “yeast”, is an infection caused by strains of Candida fungi, especially Candida albicans. Candida normally lives harmlessly in the body
Mycobacterium avium complex
Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection is caused by a group of environmental bacteria called Mycobacterium avium complex. These bacteria live harmlessly in the bodies of people with healthy immune systems. In persons with advanced HIV, MAC can spread throughout the body and damage tissue.
Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP)
Pneumocystis carinii is a fungus that is the most important cause of pneumonia in people with HIV/AIDS.
Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory scaling of the skin. In its milder forms, it is visible as dry, itchy dandruff.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Humans can contract toxoplasmosis by swallowing organisms from contaminated food or cat faeces.