Symptoms of AIDS are the clinical manifestations of associated diseases in immunodeficiency. AIDS appears in the process of developing HIV infection, and it is defined as the last stage of this disease. If HIV can not manifest itself for a long time, then in AIDS symptoms are inevitable. In this article we will examine the signs of end-stage immunodeficiency and how to recognize it yourself.
Criteria for the onset of AIDS
If a person is infected, it does not mean that he has AIDS. When infected with HIV, the number of immune cells gradually decreases, T-helpers are most affected. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome occurs when the number of immune cells drops to 200 or less. Such a condition entails opportunistic diseases: viral, fungal, bacterial and other infections. Against the background of reduced protective function, benign and malignant tumors often appear.
The diagnosis of AIDS is made after research and anamnesis. From infection with a virus to the development of the last stage, an average of 9-11 years passes. This gap may be longer, sometimes a person does not encounter the terminal stage at all.
Among the criteria for the onset of AIDS: the geographical location of the patient, the quality of treatment, lifestyle. The most positive prognosis is for those who started treatment in the early stages of HIV and who respect a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to be tested for HIV infection 2 times a year.
The final stage comes faster in patients addicted to drugs, alcohol. In such a situation, the disease can progress very quickly, since the moment AIDS is diagnosed, death occurs within a few months. Antiretroviral therapy and the absence of bad habits can prolong the life of a patient for decades. In Europe, in 2017, doctors shared the results of observations: new drugs equalize the life expectancy of healthy and HIV-positive people.
Symptoms of related diseases
AIDS occurs when the body is no longer able to control or defeat infections. At this stage, patients lose weight, easily become infected with infections, they develop tumors.
From the accompanying signs relevant:
- prolonged diarrhea;
- swollen lymph nodes;
- increased sweating at night;
- fever in a few weeks or months.
This condition is not caused by the virus itself, but by the associated infections. Most often, patients are faced with infection of the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system.
Approximately 65-80% of those infected are diagnosed with Pneumocystic Pneumonia, it is more likely than others to threaten the lives of patients. In developing countries, PP and tuberculosis remain the leading cause of death among HIV-positive. The pathogen is a yeast fungus. In a healthy person does not cause complications, but against the background of immunodeficiency leads to a serious condition. Symptoms include a long dry cough, shortness of breath, fever, night sweats. With the progress of the disease, PP can move to other organs. In the lungs, the lumen of the alveoli decreases due to the action of the fungus, gas exchange is disturbed, and oxygen deficiency occurs. If untreated, PP becomes fatal.
The second problem of HIV-positive is tuberculosis. Often, people learn about HIV status only after they go to a TB dispensary.
In the early stages, patients have quite typical symptoms, TB is localized in the lungs and responds well to treatment. With a decrease in lymphocytes to 200 and below, the infection becomes atypical. The pathogen affects the bone and brain, gastrointestinal tract, liver, central nervous system. In treatment, antiretroviral therapy is often delayed until tuberculosis is eliminated. If the patient’s condition does not allow for termination of ART, two courses are combined. Up to the last stages, TB can be controlled and treated.
In addition to PP and TB, with a lack of immunity, the lungs affect cryptococcosis, candidiasis, cytomegalovirus infection and others. They can occur in parallel with tuberculosis or pneumonia, which greatly complicates the treatment. “Positive” patients are prescribed prophylaxis for life or a course against bacterial and fungal pathologies.
Digestive organs, especially the intestines, may suffer from the action of the virus itself and from opportunistic diseases. Most often the gastrointestinal tract suffers from candidiasis. Candida is a human-specific fungus. It is also in healthy people, but the normal protective function inhibits the growth and development of fungi. With AIDS, candida and other microorganisms are out of control.
As a result of infection or an increase in the number of specific microorganisms, HIV-positive people develop esophagitis. This is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the esophagus. Esophagitis is caused by candida, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus and other organisms. Symptoms:
- pain when swallowing;
- nausea and vomiting;
In opportunistic diseases, it is not only internal organs that are affected. For rashes and sores in the mouth, white scurf are typical. Of the pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, non-Hodgien's lymphoma is relevant, which is accompanied by bleeding, pain in the epigastric region, nausea.
Neurological and psychological complications
Most of the immunodeficiency virus suffers from the immune system, in the second place after it - the central nervous system. A patient can combine several severe pathologies at once, but according to where the problems are most concentrated, they determine the form of AIDS. In the case of neuralgia, the CNS suffers.
Mental and neurological diseases appear from the penetration of the virus into the central nervous system or are the result of opportunistic diseases.
Any damage to the nervous system is dangerous, because they lead to loss of efficiency and loss of the patient's personality. HIV-related diseases:
- Cryptococcal meningitis is a fungal infection that affects the brain membrane. In the early stages, headaches, nausea and vomiting, disorientation occur. With progress, there are seizures, increased pain, fever.
- Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy - caused by polyomavirus. Progresses rapidly, leading to disruption of neural connections in the brain. Early symptoms are similar to meningitis: fever, migraine, nausea. Cognitive abilities are gradually erased, the patient's personality is changing.
- The complex of dementia AIDS - appears when microglia and macrophages are infected with the HIV virus. Host cells produce neurotoxin, which disrupts the brain. Symptoms pathology is similar to dementia.
The defeat of the central nervous system leads to the fact that patients gradually lose their cognitive abilities. Patients are impaired ability to read, awareness of the environment, orientation. The motor function also suffers, including paralysis.
Behavioral disorders lead to frequent mood changes, seizures, aggression, or tearfulness. The psyche may suffer from the patient's response to the fact of HIV infection. As a consequence, develop hypochondria and paranoid psychosis, depression, hysteria. With the combination of several types of drugs and early treatment of neurological disorders are less common.
External signs of AIDS patients
The main external sign of infection remains lymphadenopathy. This is a persistent increase in lymph nodes in the neck, behind the ears, in the armpits. This phenomenon occurs in almost all infected, persists for years. In addition to this symptom, externally AIDS can be identified by thinness. A set of associated diseases leads to a strong weight loss, in a severe course of AIDS, the mass can reduce to a critical one, and the patient is unable to move.
These are the two main symptoms that almost always occur with HIV infection. In addition, immunodeficiency can be determined by dermatological symptoms. These include a rash of a different nature, from pink spots to serious ulcers. There may be erosion and white scurf in the mouth from the action of viruses, fungi, bacteria. Kaposi's sarcoma ranks first among malignant neoplasms in HIV-positive.
This pathology is characterized by the appearance of multiple dark brown areas on the skin. Such formations are localized throughout the body: on the arms, face, torso, legs.
Considering the fact that up to 80% of "positive" ones are faced with lung infections, the patient can cough a lot. Cough is not necessarily dry or strong. According to the described signs, one can only suspect the disease. Accurately determine that a person has AIDS / HIV only in the laboratory. If you or your loved ones have similar signs, it is necessary to pass tests. You can take the test for free at the regional AIDS Centers. If you met a person with a combination of such precursors, it is worth remembering that the patient will not be able to infect others with his gaze, breath, or even touch.
Harbingers of death
Usually the final stage of the disease takes place in a hospital under the supervision of doctors. Due to external and physiological factors, it takes from several weeks to 3 years from the moment of transition to the stage of AIDS until death. The quality of treatment and the condition of the patient, the number of associated infections affect life expectancy. The harbingers of death are considered to be intensified symptoms of co-infections.
The body is weakened completely, the weight is greatly reduced, the organs are not able to perform their function. Even an increase in lymph nodes leads to cracks and suppuration, as the skin loses its elasticity. With the defeat of the lungs with cough sputum and blood is released, it is a sign of a strong lesion of the internal organs. Appetite is almost absent. The attack of the central nervous system leads to mental disorders and atypical dementia. The patient can not navigate in the dates, events, people.
Any associated disease is more severe. Kaposi's sarcoma covers large areas of the body, light injuries lead to suppuration and erosion. As a rule, in the last weeks and months a person cannot serve himself normally: buy, eat, dress. Symptomatic treatment at this stage is designed to maintain an acceptable quality of human life. The infections themselves do not respond or respond poorly to treatment.
Test at home
According to WHO studies, only 70% of those infected know their status. The rest do not know about HIV infection, and there is only one reason for this - they do not pass tests. In Ukraine, Russia and Belarus you can pass such a test anonymously. It is much easier to check yourself at home; for this purpose, rapid tests have already been launched. They are suitable for checking blood from finger and vein, saliva. The latter is most convenient, since there is no need to pierce anything, but it is more the verification of blood that causes trust.
You can buy a kit for home dough in pharmacies or online pharmacies. The box will have a tablet for applying a copy of blood, a mechanical “spear” for a puncture, a pipette and an anticoagulant. For processing attached two bags with napkins in solution. It is necessary to carry out the test on a sterile and flat surface, clearly according to the instructions. It does not matter the time of day, the degree of satiety and other factors.
It is more difficult to check for venous blood, and it is better to do that for those who have the necessary skills. The accuracy of the results does not depend on the type of testing.
Tests of 4 generations are able to determine the disease even in the early stages, and are considered the best of its kind. The saliva check method has not yet gained the desired popularity, although the accuracy of the result reaches 99.9%. For the purity of the experiment, you need to do two analyzes. If the test is positive, it is necessary to be examined with a specialist. Sometimes a false positive result occurs in pregnant women and in other infections. A negative answer needs to be checked again independently or at the AIDS center. It is free and anonymous.