HIV/AIDS And CNS Infections

HIV/AIDS And CNS Infections

HIV/AIDS And CNS Infections

It is a well known fact that an HIV infection has a major effect on the longevity of the infected person. The virus does a substantial amount of damage to the immune system and thus other viruses find it easier to get a foothold. It is because of this that there appears to be an increased incidence of opportunistic central nervous system infections in those infected with HIV.

This problem is a great deal larger in third world countries where only around a third of those who require antiretroviral treatment have access to the required medication than in countries where the public health systems are better able to handle the load of their rate of infection. The higher income countries have actually managed to decrease the incidence of these opportunistic central nervous system infections in HIV patients from 13.1 per 100 patients during 1996 and 1997 to only 1 per 1000 in 2006 and 2007. It is fortunate that it is possible to treat these opportunistic central nervous system infections. It has been found that the treatment for these infections, when used in conjunction with antiretroviral treatment, is extremely effective when it comes to increasing the life expectancy and quality of life of those infected with HIV.

The virus attacks the immune system and drastically damages its ability to function and this is what makes it possible for these opportunistic central nervous system viruses to take hold in the HIV infected person. The HIV positive person becomes most vulnerable to this kind of infection once they reach the advanced stage of HIV infection known as AIDS. It has been found that most of these infections occur as a result of the reactivation of latent viruses already in the system. It is possible that a person was exposed to the CNS infection virus at some earlier point in their life but the virus was made latent by their immune system. Once the immune system is weakened by HIV the latent virus has the ability to reactivate and carry on where it left off causing an infection of the central nervous system.

It is possible that people who are not aware of their HIV status to show the signs and symptoms of the CNS infection and thus have their HIV detected during the course of the CNS infection treatment. It has also been found that antiretroviral treatment has been known to unmask latent opportunistic central nervous system infection pathogens. However, a course of antiretroviral treatment does not prevent the reactivation of the pathogens that cause these CNS infections and those who have responded favourably to this HIV treatment can still present with the CNS infection at a later stage.

It should now be evident that HIV can allow a vast number of other viruses to gain a foothold in your system due to the decimation HIV causes in your immune system. It is advisable that you get yourself tested on a regular basis to ensure that you are able to detect the virus at an early stage, and keep it as controlled as possible for as long as possible to try to avoid having your immune system degenerate to the point where reactivation of latent pathogens which can threaten your life becomes possible.

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