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).



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