HIV and rheumatic disease 4.33/5 (3)

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HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a type of retrovirus that causes a weakening of immune system, so risk Opportunistic infections increases. The HIV virus is also the cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) which was first reported in 1981. Some people get rheumatic symptoms. The risk of opportunistic infections is particularly high with HIV infection if you also receive immunosuppressive drugs that are used, among other things, for rheumatic diseases. This typically applies if the number of white blood cells in the form of CD4 T cell falls below 150. Infection occurs through blood or blood products, unclean syringes (drug addicts), sexual contact and from infected mother to child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.

HIV infection. Symptoms of acute infection. About. 5% get rheumatic symptoms. Illustration: Mikael Häggström. Public domain via Commons

The disease does not have to cause special problems. As many as 10-60% are without symptoms.


A blood test will detect HIV infection. At the same time, another infection that may infect in a similar manner (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C) and should be excluded.


The disease is effectively treated with tablets against the virus, but it can not be cured.


Opportunistic infections,

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