AIDS and Multiple Sclerosis
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
HIV infections incrementally overwhelm a patient’s immune system to limit its ability to defend against otherwise defensible infections (opportunistic infections). HIV infections’ attack on CD4 T cells is a pathological process that allows opportunistic infections to thrive. Active CD4 T cells infected productively, undergo apoptosis, and the death pathway spreads to the bystander CD4 cells that die through pyroptosis. Pyroptosis causes the death of over ninety-five percent of the CD4 cells via the caspase 1 pathway and the release of interleukin 1β that sequesters more CD4 cells for productive infection (Gaiha & Brass, 2014).
Consequently, such abrasive CD4 cells death reduces their count. If they get lower than two hundred cells per cubic millimeter, a host of opportunistic infections complicate the HIV infection worsening the patient’s prognosis. These include candidiasis, cryptococcosis, herpes simplex, and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) (as in the case study) among others (Chu & Selwyn, 2015).
The push by the US Public Health Service to monitor CD4 counts every three to six months is to determine the level of immunosuppression of HIV patients that justifies the initiation or discontinuance of prophylactic interventions for opportunistic infections (Myers et al., 2016). This cyclic procedure has sometimes been deemed unnecessary when anti-retroviral therapy has…
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