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World AIDS Day: HIV/AIDS Increases the Risk Of These Diseases

By: Chandreyee Sen

HIV patients are often treated as untouchables in the society. Despite creating awareness about the mode of transmission of this disease, some people consider that by mere going around with an HIV patient can make them vulnerable to be affected by AIDS.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that affects the human immune system when the virus gets in contact with a human body. The virus works actively when it is present in the body.

If left untreated, HIV, in the long run, can severely damage the immune system, making a person vulnerable to any disease.

The body will lose all its capacity to prevent any host germ that is attacking the body.

AIDS, on the other hand, is the illness which occurs at the final stage of HIV. AIDS if not treated on time, can lead to death.

HIV/AIDS risk

It is therefore imperative to take a special care of HIV patients, as they are more prone to diseases than a normal human being. This is because their immune system is much more weaker than ours.

HIV patients are often in the danger zone of being affected by the following diseases as compared to a healthy individual.

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1. Cold:

It is difficult for an HIV patient to combat the virus which causes common cold. This is because AIDS destroys the cells in your immune system which are required to prevent the germ from entering the body. Therefore, in such cases, the patient becomes vulnerable to catch common cold whenever there is climatic change or when the body gets in contact with the germs. Preventive measure should be taken at an early stage to ban its further spread.

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2. Pneumonia:

At times, the common cold can take a worse form for an HIV patient. If the fever persists for over a week with cough and cold, then it is likely that the disease has further aggravated and taken the form of pneumonia. In such a case, immediately refer to a medical professional because further congestion of cough in the lungs can cause breathing trouble for the patient. HIV patients are at a higher risk of pneumonia than a healthy individual.

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3. Tuberculosis:

Tuberculosis, or TB, takes years or decades to show its result on a normal individual. But for a person who is priorly infected with HIV, for them, TB shows results in just a few months. Both the diseases complement each other and accelerate the growth respectively. People with both TB and HIV are at a greater risk of fatal consequences such as death than those who are not affected with TB.

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4. Nerve Injury:

People infected with HIV and are progressing towards the final stage of acquiring AIDS are often at a greater risk of neurological complications than a healthy individual. HIV destroys the immune system, and as a result, the central nervous system of the individual also gets affected. As we know, all our body functions are directly linked to this central nervous system. Therefore, a distortion in it can wreak havoc on one's health. Neurological complications can also occur from cancer, which is also a major side effect of HIV. However, if HIV is in its preliminary stage, it is not vulnerable to cause nerve injury.

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5. Mouth & Genital Sores:

One of the major modes of transmitting HIV is via the mouth. HIV reduces the capability of the immune system to fight any disease. So, if you have soreness in your mouth that leads to redness of the gums, then coming in contact with an HIV patient can induce herpes, even more, leading to cavity and difficulty in eating.

This herpes appears outside the mouth and looks like blisters (fever blisters) which are painful and can even get severe and last for a longer span. An HIV patient also develops canker sores, which are red but covered with yellow film and mostly occurs inside lips, tongue, and cheeks. Apart from these, there is dryness, gum disease, candidiasis or thrush, etc., which affects HIV patients.

HIV is also transmitted through sexual intercourse. But if you have genital herpes, then the risk of incurring HIV is much higher than others.

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6. Depression:

An HIV patient is likely to fall prey to depression, much quicker than a normal individual. This is because there has been still no cure for this disease. Medications can only stop its further growth. The society too is responsible for aggravating depression and mood swings in an HIV patient. Such people are considered as contagious and debarred from normal life. As a result, such patients can incur vital diseases like hypertension or diabetes.

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7. Weight Loss:

Weight loss is a common problem which is seen in most of the HIV-infected individuals. This is due to improper nutrition and unwillingness to eat. The mouth sore and bloating of stomach further aid to this unwillingness. Depression is another factor for your reduced appetite. Further, if your weight loss is very rapid, then it might be an opportunistic infection, which occurs as a side effect of HIV.

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8. Memory Impairment:

Memory loss was one of the major consequences of HIV in the initial days. But now with the advancement of science and technology, it is seen that memory impairment has reduced from before. However, the risk is not fully eradicated. Depression can lead to objective cognitive impairment and can have complex neuro-behavioural symptoms at times. If this neuro-cognitive impairment becomes severe, then it can become fatal for an HIV patient. It can even reduce his/her lifespan.

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9. Lymphomas:

HIV patients who have acquired lymphoma, a disease wherein cancer cells are formed in the lymph system of the patient, are at the increased risk of fatal consequences. Lymphoma is more commonly seen in patients who have AIDS and are accompanied by weight loss, fever, and night sweats. The weakened immune system is incapable of combating with the malignant germ and can lead to cancer. Therefore, proper diagnosis is required for AIDS-related lymphomas.

So, these are a few diseases which get increased due to HIV. Therefore, proper medical care is required to treat such an ailment.

Read more about: aids, pneumonia, tuberculosis
Story first published: Friday, December 1, 2017, 8:00 [IST]
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