Opportunistic infections: prevention and diagnosis

The Human Immunodeficiency virus does not lead to a lethal consequence in an HIV-infected person. It strikes and gradually destroys cells of the human immune system that protect the body from infections. HIV leads to the development of AIDS for 8-10 years. As a result, a complex of diseases is formed that develop as a result of the destruction of the immune system. These diseases are caused by infections that called opportunistic infections. 

Opportunistic infections - medical term that refers to infectious diseases caused by microorganisms that are usually not able to cause the disease in a person with a healthy immune system, but can develop in people with impaired immunity, for example, in HIV infected people. 

Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of opportunistic infections (OI) is an important component of comprehensive medical care for people with HIV and is carried out by all units of medical care in accordance with the possibilities and profile of a medical institution.

The Center of Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine notes the following features of the course of opportunistic infections:

- dissemination of the pathogen with its definition in various organs;
- poorly subjected to specific therapy, often relapsed;
- a weak specific immune response to an opportunistic pathogen.

The most common opportunistic infections in the European region and in Ukraine are: tuberculosis, bacterial infections, pneumonia, herpes infections (peptic ulcer, herpes infections caused by HHV-1, HHV-2 and HHV-5), candidiasis esophagitis, cryptococcal meningitis, toxoplasmosis.

In the case of the detection of an infection or disease that is common in patients with HIV in a person with unknown status, it is urgent to provide him with advice and testing in accordance with the national protocol on VCT. The doctor have to explain to the patient the importance of testing and establishing an appropriate status for the choice of treatment, but the patient has the right to refuse it.

The initial assessment of the patient's health should include:

- pre-test counseling;
- conducting blood tests for the determination of antibodies to HIV;
- post-test counseling (regardless of the result);
- examination of the patient;
- laboratory and instrumental studies: general blood test, general urine analysis, biochemical blood tests (ALT, AST, bilirubin, creatinine), serological tests (markers of viral hepatitis, syphilis, gonorrhea and Ch.trachomatis, IgG antibodies to T .gondii, Cryptococcus antigen titre, CMV infection research), instrumental studies (chest x-ray, ultrasound examination);
- review by "narrow" specialists (by indications).

New methods of tuberculosis prevention

The issue of combating tuberculosis, among the personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and among the civilian population, is one of the priority areas of state policy in the sphere of health and social development and, moreover, is the subject of international obligations. The effective control of TB infection requires a significant revision of the organization of anti-TB care in order to reduce the burden of infection in society and create safe conditions for the treatment of patients and the work of medical personnel.

It was for this purpose that the director of the International NGO "International Institute of HIV / AIDS and Tuberculosis" Eliot J. Pearlman introduced a methodological manual in the form of a workbook for medical personnel with a short algorithm of action in case of fixation in a patient's hospital with similar symptoms.

The first part (100 copies) within 10 days will be sent to the military mobile hospital performing tasks in the area of the United Nations.

The methodical manual for the prevention of tuberculosis already performs its functions

The Directorate of the International Institute of HIV / AIDS and Tuberculosis sincerely congratulates all personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine on the Day of Defender of Ukraine. We are grateful for your dignity and patriotism, public activity and dedication and love for Ukraine.

Taking this opportunity we would like to inform you that the first copy of manual on the prevention of tuberculosis has already been received by the personnel of two military mobile hospitals performing tasks in the area of the United forces operation.

The booklet provides brief information abought healthy individuals avoid infection with a TB agent and briefly describes the current presentation of tuberculosis epidemiology. This information will be useful for patients and their relatives and staff conducting controlled outpatient treatment.

The state of awareness of the Ukrainian population about HIV / AIDS

Dissemination of information and raising public awareness about infectious diseases is one of the most important issues in counteracting its spread. On the website of the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine was published the results of an all-Ukrainian study conducted by GFK Ukraine, a sociological company commissioned by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, to assess the knowledge, attitudes and behavioral settings of the population of Ukraine about HIV / AIDS.

Special attention was paid to two focal regions: Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporozhye, as well as age categories from 15 to 24 years. And 2260 interviews were conducted.

According to the results of the study, in 2017, the number of people who have never passed the HIV test fell considerably: 58% of the population of Ukraine, compared with 64% in 2016. Also, in 2017, the number of people who passed the family doctor test (from 5% in 2016 to 10% in 2017 among the Ukrainian population).

At the same time, only 50% of the Ukrainian population would have shown an initiative and offered a new partner to use a condom (the share of such decreased, compared with 57% in 2016).

For complete information about the resuits of this study, see the link below:

«Public awareness of HIV Epidemic in Ukraine», GfK Ukraine, 2017 

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