Candida and AIDS/HIV are two conditions that have very direct and obvious links. When a patient has HIV or AIDS their immune system is weakened and it is unable to be as effective at fighting off other infections. People do not die from AIDS but rather die from an AIDS related illness, pneumonia or some other infection that their body cannot handle. Candida is another problem that can take advantage of this weakened state to multiply and cause problems. Candida and AIDS/HIV can lead to chronic or recurring yeast infections, poor nutrition, weight loss, Thrush, and even systemic candidiasis, a life threatening form of infection.
How Candida and AIDS/HIV affect the immune system
Our immune systems when strong and healthy are able to perform at peak efficiency, removing threats to our health. Part of an effective and healthy immune system is having a good population of good bacteria. When a person has a problem with too much candida their good bacteria population is low. In someone with AIDS or HIV, they already have a weak immune system caused by this disease, and are often taking medications and antibiotics that kill the good bacteria further damaging the immune system. As opportunistic as candida is, it uses this to continue to overgrow and spread, and cause repeated problems.
Oral and throat yeast infections
Patients can get any type of yeast infection, skin, vaginal and so on, but the most common form of yeast infection that Candida and AIDS/HIV patients suffer with is Thrush (mouth) and possibly candida esophagitis – throat yeast infection. These forms of yeast infection are actually not commonly found in otherwise healthy adult patients, though a form of Thrush is common for young babies. It is estimated that around 75% of patients with AIDS or HIV have this form of yeast infection. Symptoms include white patches in the mouth and on the throat, lesions that bleed, pain, difficulty swallowing, loss of weight, dehydration, ulcers, the feeling of something stuck in the throat. Patients can have Thrush without it developing into the esophagus, but it is rare to have a throat infection without also having mouth symptoms.
Oral and throat infections can be treated with anti-fungal medications and in recurring cases a preventative drug treatment can be arranged. However in some cases a more serious and potentially fatal infection can occur, systemic candidiasis, where the infection has entered the blood stream and is able to travel around the body. Also known as candidemia, this can damage any or several internal organs, and can lead to death. It is something that can occur when an AIDS/HIV patient has been hospitalized.