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AIDS Symptoms

AIDS symptoms occur step by step in an infected person’s body. AIDS stands for Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome. This is a disease that takes place in the immune system of the human and may also involve the human central nervous system. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV is responsible for causing AIDS in humans. As HIV attacks the person’s immune system, the person loses defenses against diseases. Eventually, if the virus is left untreated and the disease is allowed to go further, the human immune system falls drastically below the critical level. At such an occasion, the human body becomes more likely to contracting diseases known as opportunistic diseases. These diseases would not affect or be fatal in a normal healthy individual as the body can fight them off. However, in an HIV infected person, these diseases become life threatening.

There are so many ways that HIV can be transmitted from one person to another; however, it is not obligatory that every person who has HIV will get AIDS. Certain AIDS symptoms are more likely than the others. In a healthy human being, bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., do not pose a threat as the body is capable of fighting these petty intruders. However, a person with AIDS is unable to do so. Let us start with taking a look at the pulmonary symptoms of AIDS.

PCP or Pneumocystis carinni pneumonia does not commonly occur in a healthy individual. In earlier times, this disease was the cause of a lot of deaths. In developed countries, it can hamper the infected person but treatment is available even if the person has AIDS. If we look at the developing countries, this AIDS symptom still poses a big threat and is like a yard stick to measure the commencement of AIDS in individuals who have never been tested before. Another pulmonary symptom of AIDS is that of Tuberculosis or TB. Even if a person does not have HIV or AIDS, if he acquires TB, treatment becomes difficult. TB can be passed from one person to another through the air passage too, so even more care needs to be taken. This was for a normal person. In a person who is affected by HIV, the problem becomes even more serious. The combination of the two diseases is quite lethal.

Now, let us take a look into some of the gastrointestinal symptoms of AIDS. A common symptom of AIDS in this region is of Esophagitis. As the name suggests, this is a condition that occurs in the esophagus. This condition brings about an inflammation in the esophagus. This inflammation occurs in the lower exit of the esophagus. In people who are HIV positive, esophagitis takes place due to certain viruses, like the herpes simplex virus 1 or due to fungal infections like candidiasis. Rarely, the reason for the inflammation is mycobacteria. HIV positive individuals may also get more likely to chronic diarrhea. This diarrhea often occurs due to some common bacteria such as salmonella, campylobacter, listeria or even shigella. As the HIV progresses, the diarrhea also tends to become more persistent. Sometimes, the diarrhea is not directly due to the HIV in the person’s body. The antiviral medication that the person consumes can also be a cause of the diarrhea.

AIDS also ends to exhibit certain neurological as well as psychiatric symptoms. Once the person contracts HIV and it starts progressing towards AIDS, the neurological system of the person becomes very vulnerable to infections or organisms. The illnesses that the person may suffer may be a result of infections or may even be a direct result of HIV. For instance, the single celled organism commonly known as the toxoplasma gondii has the capability of giving the person a disease known as toxoplasmosis. In this disease, toxoplasma encephalitis takes place as a result of infection in the brain by the toxoplasma gondii. This disease also has the capability to spread into the eyes as well as the lungs and infect these areas and cause the disease there too.

AIDS symptoms may be of various types; however, for the doctor to establish that the person now has AIDS, the count of the CD4 cells must be below 200. With AIDS, the life expectancy of the person reduces drastically, but even so, a healthy lifestyle is a must.