The annual number of deaths due to AIDS has decreased worldwide. In the year 2004, the highest number of 19 lakhs AIDS patients died and in 2020, this number come down to 6,90,000. In the year 2020, 2,14,000 patients who had AIDS died due to tuberculosis, but only 50 per cent of cases were confirmed. In terms of AIDS patients and other patients, more people died from fungal infection than from tuberculosis. More and more people are being treated to combat HIV infection, which is reducing the number of deaths, but the decline is far less than it should be. The reason for this death is due to a fungal infection. To avoid death from fungal infection, HIV infection should be treated at an early stage. But unfortunately, in many countries late HIV infection detection is common. Of those who have recently been found to be infected with HIV, 30-60 per cent were already infected with AIDS and had a weakened immune system.
Due to the late detection of HIV infection, many patients have already had fungal infections.
Three fungal infections may benefit from early detection of HIV in an infected patient.
One particularly deadly fungal infection is cryptococcal meningitis. This fungus is found in pigeon beets and spreads the infection through breathing. Usually, the person’s immune system destroys it, but in AIDS patients, it enters the brain through the lungs and the blood. Due to this fungus, AIDS patients can die in just three to four weeks. Fungal meningitis kills more than 120,000 people every year, and 70 per cent of these deaths cannot be avoided.
Another dangerous fungal infection is Pneumocystis Pneumonia or PCP, which is somewhat like COVID pneumonia. It causes cough, shortness of breath and lack of oxygen. About three out of five patients diagnosed with AIDS in the early days of the HIV outbreak were found to be infected with PCP. Nonetheless, now one in seven patients is found infected with PCP. Pneumocystis changes its form in human lungs and the disease spreads from person to person through cough. Newborns infected with HIV are more likely to be infected with PCP. In the year 2020, about one lakh infants died due to HIV/AIDS, of which PCP was the main cause of death. Apart from this, about one lakh adults died due to PCP.
Tuberculosis- like infection
In America, Southeast Asia and parts of Africa, a fungus called Histoplasma is found in the beetles of bats and birds. If the immunity is weakened, the spreads to the bone marrow, lungs, intestines and skin causing the death of a patient with Histoplasma in two to three weeks. Every year the number of tuberculosis patients is decreasing and the number of living patients of tuberculosis is increasing. This data suggest that the patient, who was previously reported to be infected with tuberculosis were not infected with tuberculosis, but with Histoplasma. The number of patients with Histoplasma is increasing year by year.
Death due to co-infection with Tuberculosis and HIV
Tuberculosis and HIV infection together caused 5,70,000 deaths in 2010 and dropped to 2,14,000 after 10 years. This proves that the cases are being detected early, relatively accurate investigations and precautionary treatment methods are being used and treatment completions have improved.
The death toll from the deadly fungal infections is much higher for HIV patients than for tuberculosis, and some people thought to be “sufferers of tuberculosis” may not have been infected with tuberculosis. Delay in early detection of these three infections leads to the death of AIDS patients. If these are detected early, half of these deaths can be avoided.
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