Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes weakness in the patient’s ability to fight infections and as a result, they fall prey to a number of diseases including cancer and AIDS.
While the person becomes weak in general, certain skin conditions may be the first indication of HIV infection. While a large number of people infected with HIV may develop these medical conditions, it is also very likely that the mere presence of these conditions does not mean that the person is infected with HIV. Some commonly observed skin conditions:
Thrush affects the mouth, where the infection is indicated by the presence of white raised lesions usually on the inner cheeks or tongue but may also occur elsewhere such as on the gums, the back of the throat, the roof of the mouth, tonsils, etc. The infected person could experience pain and slight bleeding on brushing or scraping. It is not uncommon for the infection to spread to other parts of the body, and more so in persons whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV. Antifungal medicines are usually prescribed by doctors for the treatment of thrush.
This is a type of cancer that affects the skin and mucous membranes and is common among people with HIV. Dark or purplish skin lesions are formed, which may spread to other parts of the body due to the weak immune system of the infected person. Treatment comprises surgery, chemo or radiation therapy, or even bionic therapy; however, the most enduring way of treatment is tackling the HIV infection so that the immune system becomes stronger. If Kaposi’s sarcoma is diagnosed, your doctor may also ask you to get yourself tested for HIV. You can get a reliable testing kit from the mybiosourse website.
Oral Hairy Leukoplakia
Caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, the symptoms of oral hairy leukoplakia appear in the mouth as white lesions on the sides or bottom of the tongue. It is generally considered to be among the first signs of HIV. Since the lesions, whether raised and furry or smooth and raised do not cause any discomfort and resolves on its own, it does not need any medical intervention. However, if required to be treated, use of acyclovir is recommended.
Molluscum Contagiosum Skin Conditions
Caused by a virus molluscum contagiosum is an infectious disease that is symptomized by smooth bumps on the skin that may be flesh-colored or white. While being contagious, the disease is not considered to be serious and usually the symptoms disappear without requiring any treatment. However, in HIV patients the disease can become chronic and progressive due to the lower level of performance of the immune system. Bump removal may either be done by freezing or scraping or by the application of imiquimod cream or retinoic acid. More enduring results are obtained by treating HIV because the bumps revolve better with the improvement of the immune system.
Herpes occurs in two forms; HSV-1 that appears just like a cold sore on the mouth or near it, and HSV-2 that manifests itself on or near the genitalia. The herpes virus is transmitted through close personal contact like intercourse or kissing. There is no known cure for herpes and once infected the virus remain in the body and can be triggered multiple times resulting in painful sores that are best treated with antiviral drugs.
Herpes zoster or shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus which may become active after lying dormant in the nerve cells of those who have earlier been infected with chicken pox. Symptoms include a tingling feeling, stabbing pain, numbness, itching in the early stages and rash, fluid-filled blisters and raised spot bands on one side of the body and a painful condition that may last for weeks. The disease resolves on its own but antiviral medicines may be applied to control the duration and severity of the symptoms. Painkillers may also be prescribed if necessary.
There are quite a few infections that while occurring among the general people are also known to be indicators of HIV in some. If you experience any of these diseases, it is better to consult a doctor who may advise HIV testing, if deemed necessary.
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