The number of HIV infections has risen by a large margin in the world. This means that more than 100,000 people face the risk of getting HIV (Chasela et al. 2281). The rising infections are a concern for the world. In the United States, there are about one million people living with the virus while about ten percent of new infections happen to the youths. Youths are people between 13-24years who are sometimes unaware that they have been infected (Grinsztejn et al.290). Due to the number of medical cases, healthcare practitioners hold per day of people having the virus and not being aware of it, mandatory testing before treatment has been considered as an option that would help push the management forward (High et al. 10). This means that the rate of new infections will reduce while those found with the virus will access medication and care. In addition, opportunistic diseases that affect people living with HIV will be managed easily. This paper will focus on tuberculosis as an opportunistic infection that affects most people living with HIV. It will provide a description of the condition; define what causes the infection and the incidence rate; the organs affected by the diseases, and treatment options that exist for a patient.
People living with HIV have a weak immune system that puts their health at risk of contracting a myriad of infections (Funk et al. 1560). Tuberculosis (TB) is classified as one of the dangerous diseases in the world that targets the wellbeing of the lungs. In most cases, TB can also go to the spinal cord or brain of a patient making it hard to diagnose. However, a HIV-negative person has a high chance of fighting off the condition with the right treatment and management because they have a strong immune system. However, it becomes a concern when someone living with the virus contracts the TB germs (McComsey et al. 1789). This means that their body becomes a breeding ground for germs which multiply at a fast pace. This means that the patients immune fights off two diseases simultaneously. Their CD4 count goes down and may drop to risk levels of below 200. Hence, they are at the stage where they have developed AIDS due to the strain their immune system goes through at this time (Chasela et al. 2279). They need to follow the prescription of their doctors to avoid losing their lives faster. This health condition means that the person living with the virus has to work closely with their personal doctor as they keep track of the CD4 count and help increase it to the normal range.
Every individual is at a risk of getting TB, as it is an airborne disease. An infected person can pass it to the others after coughing or sneezing and one breathes in the impure air (High et al. 18). A person living with HIV is at a higher risk of getting the infection within the first few minutes of contact with an infected person, as their immune is weak. They may start showing of symptoms of the condition a short time after exposure (McComsey et al. 1799). For instance, they may develop coughs for more than two weeks where they have chest pain as they do. Coughing up may produce blood or mucus. Further, the person may start sweating at night and feeling fatigued at all times. TB may spread to the brain if not treated early (Grinsztejn et al. 286). They run a risk of developing mental conditions while dealing with AIDS and doctors may confine them to isolation to make it easier to administer medication to them. Hence, a person living with HIV should seek medical attention as soon as they start experiencing anything unusual in their bodies. They can inform the doctors of their HIV status to make it easier for the doctor to start treatment immediately. However, testing for TB at healthcare centers is important before prescription of drugs. Depending on the extent of symptoms, doctors may perform an X-ray on the patients chest or check their sputum, amongst other methods. The medical practitioner then determines the type of TB that a patient has before they can start administering drugs to them (High et al. 17).
An individual living with HIV and develops TB has a co-infection (High et al. 8). Two infections fighting their immune system might prove hard to treat or diagnose. Further, the TB germs spread faster in their body compared to a HIV-negative person. Any delay in seeking medical attention puts them at a high risk of losing their lives due to the speed of multiplication of the germs. After attacking the lungs, the infection can travel to the brain and spine rendering them weak (Funk et al. 1560). The fact that it spreads fast and is hard to diagnose in a person living with HIV means that one can die within one month if they do not visit a healthcare institution. It is also hard to treat a patient who has developed TB in more than one place, for instance, their brain, and lungs. Since a person living with HIV is at a high risk of getting constant infections, there is a probability that the TB infection can re-occur in the future. A re-occurrence affects a patient more than how it did the first time as it may become drug-resistant and hard to control the second time. Healthcare practitioners must advise their patients on the need to complete dosages given to them treating the TB virus (Chasela et al. 2276). They should also follow up on getting their daily injections until the prescribed time is over.
Treatment of TB depends on the type and stage it has reached before diagnosis. For instance, treating the inactive TB is necessary for the person living with HIV as it follows the medication taken for active TB, which are antibiotics (Grinsztejn et al.283). Patients who developed the pulmonary TB take the antibiotics for six months and get relief as they continue taking the medication. However, it takes a longer time to contain and manage the TB affecting the brain and spine. Taking medication for HIV and TB at the same time might prove hard for the patient due to the number of drugs taken at one time as well as the interactions of the different tablets (McComsey et al. 1798). One needs to eat a healthy and balanced diet so that the medication can work correctly. Sometimes, healthcare practitioners may require the patients to visit the facilities on a daily basis so that they can track how the invalids take their medication and ensure that they do not miss (High et al. 8). Missing a single dosage may have a negative implication on the wellbeing of the patient living with HIV. It is at this point that one may become drug resistant and their bodies may not respond to treatment in the future. The drugs may also stop working altogether. Some of the specific drugs used to treat TB include but not limited to isoniazid or INH. If the infection does not respond to these drugs, then doctors can choose Ethambutol, Rifadin, or Pyrazinamide. Medical doctors argue that germs cause TB (Funk et al. 1560). The germs spread to the cells, which help, keep of bacteria. Hence, a combination a combination of HIV and TB infection means that the cells, which are already weakened, need to put a fight against two diseases. There is also a high chance of a person living with HIV and has been attacked by TB to develop meningitis.
TB has a negative impact on the society and especially to the person living with HIV. This is because they need isolation for the first few weeks after they start taking their medication so that they do not act as agents to spread to others (High et al. 9). For a family person, they are separated from their loved ones, which might have effect on how well they respond to the medication they take. The patient may also feel overwhelmed due to the large number of medications they have to take at one time. Some of the negative side effects of the medication might affect them discouraging some of them to feel tempted to complete the dosages (Grinsztejn et al. 280). TB continues to affect people living with the HIV and it is hard to deal with for a younger individual. For instance, a patient below eighteen years who has the HIV virus as the side effects from the combination of the drugs might affect their morale and esteem. Research continues to go on in the medical field as practitioners seek to identify easier ways to manage TB and increasing the response rate to antibiotics.
Chasela, Charles S., et al. "Maternal or infant antiretroviral drugs to reduce HIV-1 transmission." New England Journal of Medicine 362.24 (2010): 2271-2281.
Funk, Michele Jonsson, et al. "Timing of HAART initiation and clinical outcomes among HIV-1 seroconverters." Archives of internal medicine 171.17 (2011): 1560.
Grinsztejn, Beatriz, et al. "Effects of early versus delayed initiation of antiretroviral treatment on clinical outcomes of HIV-1 infection: results from the phase 3 HPTN 052 randomised controlled trial." The Lancet infectious diseases 14.4 (2014): 281-290.
High, Kevin P., et al. "HIV and aging: state of knowledge and areas of critical need for research. A report to the NIH Office of AIDS Research by the HIV and Aging Working Group." Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999) 60.Suppl 1 (2012): S1-18.
McComsey, Grace A., et al. "Bone mineral density and fractures in antiretroviral-naive persons randomized to receive abacavir-lamivudine or tenofovir disoproxil fumarate-emtricitabine along with efavirenz or atazanavir-ritonavir: Aids Clinical Trials Group A5224s, a substudy of ACTG A5202." Journal of Infectious Diseases 203.12 (2011): 1791-1801.
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