AIDS – causes, side effects and treatments at

Thursday, December 21, 2017 by

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a condition caused by a retrovirus called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The life-threatening condition is known to progressively weaken a person’s immune system, thus rendering the body more susceptible to a plethora of infections. An article posted on the Medical News Today website explains that HIV can be transmitted via three exposure routes: sexual transmission, perinatal transmission, and blood transmission.

Sexual transmission occurs when a person engages in unprotected sex — including vaginal, oral, and anal sex — with infected individuals. Sharing sex toys with infected individuals may also lead to HIV transmission. Perinatal transmission occurs when an infected mother passes the infection to her child during childbirth, pregnancy, and  through breastfeeding. Blood transmission occurs when an otherwise healthy patient receives blood transfusion from an infected individual.

Symptoms of HIV infection include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and headaches as well as night sweats, skin rashes, oral infections and vomiting. Other HIV symptoms include persistent weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue, and pelvic inflammation as well as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.

Known side effects of AIDS

AIDS is known to deteriorate the immune system and raise the odds of contracting a host of infections. According to a Health Line entry, these infections include pneumonia, tuberculosis, and candidiasis as well as cryptococcal meningitis and the herpes virus cytomegalovirus. Likewise, AIDS is known to trigger the onset of the parasite-related infections like cryptosporidiosis and toxoplasmosis. The disease may also cause Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), lymphoma, and kidney disease.

Body systems harmed by AIDS

AIDS primarily targets the immune system. Likewise, the disease greatly affects the kidneys, the digestive tract and the respiratory tract.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent AIDS

Eating nutritious foods plays an important role in strengthening the immune system. The University of California, San Francisco’s HIV InSite website encourages AIDS patients to eat plenty of foods high in vitamins A, C, E and D as well as other essential nutrients such as protein, selenium, iron, and zinc. Foods rich in these nutrients include green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, avocados, and almonds as well as fortified milk, fatty fish and tomatoes. Likewise, these important nutrients can be found in citrus fruits — such as oranges, grapefruit and lemons — potatoes, spinach and pumpkin as well as green peppers, carrots, papaya, and mangoes.

Treatments, management plans for AIDS

An article published on the Medscape website reveals that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) remains to be the primary preventive measure in avoiding immune system deterioration in patients. Likewise, disease management guidelines issued by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) encourage patients to:

  • Undergo screening for diabetes, osteoporosis and colon cancer,
  • Receive immunization against pneumococcal infection, influenza, varicella, and hepatitis A and B, and
  • Undergo lipid monitoring and management of lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors.

The guidelines add that:

  • HIV-positive women should undergo annual trichomoniasis screening,
  • At-risk patients should undergo annual gonorrhea and chlamydia screening, and
  • Patients with well-controlled HIV should undergo blood monitoring for viral levels every 6-12 months.

Where to learn more


AIDS causes pneumonia, tuberculosis and candidiasis as well as cryptococcal meningitis and cytomegalovirus.

AIDS triggers cryptosporidiosis, toxoplasmosis and Kaposi’s sarcoma as well as lymphoma and kidney disease.

AIDS leads to persistent weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue and pelvic inflammation.

AIDS raises the odds of sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis.

AIDS is particularly detrimental to the body’s overall immunity.

AIDS also affects the kidneys, the digestive tract and the respiratory tract.

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