Thursday, July 18, 2024

How Does Hiv Affect The Eyes

Causes Of Gonorrhea In The Eye

The Effects of HIV in the Eye

Gonorrhea is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium. This bacterium infects the bodys mucous membranes. Because its a sexually transmitted disease, gonorrhea normally affects parts of the body involved in sexual contact, including the urethra, throat, cervix, or rectum. However, it can also affect the eye if it comes in contact with infected bodily fluids or mucous membranes. This can occur in several ways:

  • An infected person ejaculates or urinates in or around their partners eyes.
  • Someone touches their eyes after coming in contact with infected urine, semen, or vaginal fluid.
  • A newborn baby contracts gonorrhea when it comes in contact with bacteria in the birth canal.

When the N. gonorrhoeae bacterium lands on the eyes mucous membrane, it can penetrate the subepithelial tissue there after three or four days. The eye gives the bacterium a warm, wet place to live thats not too dissimilar to the other parts of the body it usually infects.

Side Effects Of Hiv Drugs

Some common HIV medications can also cause rashes, including:

Based on their environment and the strength of their immune system, an individual can have more than one of these conditions at the same time. Treatment might need to address them individually or all at once.

If a rash is present on the skin, consider discussing symptoms with a healthcare provider. Theyâll assess the type of rash, consider current medications, and prescribe a treatment plan to relieve the symptoms.

Effects Of Antiretroviral Drugs On The Body

Antiretroviral therapy helps people who have HIV live longer, healthier lives and lowers their risk of spreading the virus. The drugs can have side effects, many of which go away with time. Overall, the benefits outweigh the risks.

There are several kinds of antiretroviral drugs, and your doctor might combine them in different ways. Side effects can vary from drug to drug or from person to person.

Common side effects of these drugs include:

  • Upset stomach and vomiting

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How Is It Diagnosed

Your eye care provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and do exams and tests such as:

  • An exam using a microscope with a light attached, called a slit lamp, to look closely at the front and back of your eye
  • An exam using drops to enlarge, or dilate, your pupils and a light to look into the back of your eyes
  • An eye test in which a camera takes pictures of the blood vessels inside your eye after dye is injected into a vein in your arm.
  • A visual field test, which uses spots of light to measure your central vision and how well you see things on all sides

The Effects Of Hiv On The Body

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Most people are likely familiar with HIV, but they may not know how it can affect the body.

HIV destroys CD4 cells , which are critical to the immune system. CD4 cells are responsible for keeping people healthy and protecting them from common diseases and infections.

As HIV gradually weakens the bodys natural defenses, signs and symptoms will occur.

Find out what happens when the virus enters the body and interrupts its systems.

Once HIV enters the body, it launches a direct attack on the immune system.

How quickly the virus progresses will vary by:

  • a persons age
  • how quickly theyre diagnosed

The timing of their treatment can make a huge difference as well.

HIV targets the types of cells that would normally fight off an invader such as HIV. As the virus replicates, it damages or destroys the infected CD4 cell and produces more virus to infect more CD4 cells.

Without treatment, this cycle can continue until the immune system is badly compromised, leaving a person at risk for serious illnesses and infections.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is the final stage of HIV. At this stage, the immune system is severely weakened, and the risk of contracting opportunistic infections is much greater.

However, not everyone with HIV will go on to develop AIDS. The earlier a person receives treatment, the better their outcome will be.

Early on, HIV symptoms may be mild enough to be dismissed.

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How Does Aids Affect The Eyes

People with AIDS can get serious infections that healthy people do not get, and some of those infections can affect the eye. Many people with AIDS develop eye problems. Almost any part of the eye can be affected. The problems can be mild to severe. Over time, infections may involve the brain and cause vision changes. Other kinds of eye problems related to HIV or AIDS include:

  • HIV retinopathy. This is a problem with the blood vessels in your retina. It is the most common eye problem in people with HIV. The retina is the lining at the back of your eye that senses light coming into your eye. The retina has tiny blood vessels that can get blocked or bleed and cause damage.
  • Cytomegalovirus retinitis. This is a virus that infects your retina. If not treated, CMV retinitis can cause your retina to pull away from the back of your eye. This is called a retinal detachment and can cause blindness.
  • Kaposis sarcoma. This is a tumor that may appear as a red or purple mass on the white of your eye or a purple bump on your eyelid. It can also appear on other places of the body, most commonly the skin or mouth.
  • Herpes zoster ophthalmicus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox and shingles. It can damage your eye, causing pain and loss of vision.

Does Hiv Viral Load Affect Getting Or Transmitting Hiv

Yes. Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who has HIV. Taking HIV medicine daily as prescribed can make the viral load very lowso low that a test cant detect it .

People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.

HIV medicine is a powerful tool for preventing sexual transmission of HIV. But it works only as long as the HIV-positive partner gets and keeps an undetectable viral load. Not everyone taking HIV medicine has an undetectable viral load. To stay undetectable, people with HIV must take HIV medicine every day as prescribed and visit their healthcare provider regularly to get a viral load test. Learn more.

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Hiv Effects On The Skin

Many people get a skin rash in the first stage of an HIV infection. It usually goes away without treatment in days or weeks. Over time, a number of things might cause more rashes. Itâs always important to let your doctor know about a rash, because it might be a sign of a serious problem, or an HIV medication could be causing it.

People who have HIV are more likely to get viral infections. Herpes zoster, herpes simplex, and Molluscum contagiosum can cause rashes or blisters.

Kaposiâs sarcoma causes lesions, patches, or nodules that are a different color from your skin. Sometimes, you can also get lesions on your internal organs. These may be life-threatening.

How Do You Get Or Transmit Hiv

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You can only get HIV by coming into direct contact with certain body fluids from a person with HIV who has a detectable viral load. These fluids are:

  • Blood
  • Semen and pre-seminal fluid
  • Rectal fluids
  • Vaginal fluids
  • Breast milk

For transmission to occur, the HIV in these fluids must get into the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person through a mucous membrane open cuts or sores or by direct injection.

People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.

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Hiv Effects On The Nervous System

About half of people with AIDS have nerve problems related to the virus. Infection or inflammation can damage your spinal cord or brain and keep your nerve cells from working the way they should. Some medications can also affect your nervous system.


Inflammation in your brain and spinal cord can lead to confusion and other thinking problems as well as weakness, headaches, seizures, and balance problems.

When AIDS is far along, you might get dementia and have problems remembering things.

Having HIV can also affect your mental health. Many people living with it have depression or anxiety. Mental health professionals and support groups can help you work through your concerns and manage your life with HIV.


The opportunistic infection cytomegalovirus can attack your nerves, making it hard for you to control your arms and legs or your bladder.

Itâs common for tiny holes to form in spinal fibers when people with AIDS donât get treatment. This is called vacuolar myelopathy and causes trouble walking.

HIV or the drugs that treat it can also damage nerves all over your body, causing neuropathy. You might have pain, numbness, weakness, burning, stiffness, or tingling.

Antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV can lower your risk of getting these conditions or complications. If a medication is causing the problems, your doctor might switch you to a different one.

Ways Hiv Cannot Be Spread

HIV is not spread by:

  • Air or water
  • Mosquitoes, ticks or other insects
  • Saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of a person with HIV
  • Shaking hands hugging sharing toilets sharing dishes, silverware, or drinking glasses or engaging in closed-mouth or social kissing with a person with HIV
  • Drinking fountains

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How Is It Treated

Treatment for HIV-related eye problems depends on the specific vision problem.

  • Medicines can help treat infections
  • Tumors may be treated with radiation or surgery
  • Retina damaged by bleeding and swelling inside the eye may need surgery or laser treatment

A person with HIV who maintains a healthy immune system by taking antiviral drug treatments as recommended are at lower risk of developing HIV-related eye diseases

Infections On The Front Of The Eye

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The anterior segment of the eye functions primarily by refracting light and adjusting focus needed for vision, and includes the cornea, iris, lens, and anterior chamber . Some of the more common infections of the anterior segment are varicella-zoster virus microsporidiosis herpes simplex and other opportunistic fungal or bacterial infections.

Many of these infections tend occur in later-stage disease when an HIV-positive person’s immune system is effectively compromised. Keratitis, a sometimes painful and itchy inflammation of the cornea, is one of the frequent symptoms note in anterior segment infections, whether caused by varicella-zoster virus, herpes simplex, or fungal infection like Candida or Aspergillus.

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What Are The Effects Of Covid

Medications that have been used to treat COVID-19 have been associated with ocular toxicities:

How Does Chlamydia Affect Pregnancy

Chlamydia is a very common STD that is easily treatable and also preventable. If you come into contact chlamydia when youre pregnant, it can potentially increase the risk of miscarriage and also runs the risk of having a preterm delivery .

When a baby has become infected with chlamydia, it tends not to cause a lot of significant damage to the newborn, however babies can get a chlamydial infection in their eyes.

If a baby is born and has an eye infection or visible pus in and around their eyes, one of the first things they will be tested for via a swab will be chlamydia. This is very easily treatable with antibiotic eye drops.

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Recognizing The Symptoms Of An Hiv Rash

  • 1Check for a rash that is red, slightly raised, and very itchy.XResearch sourceDale Prokupek, MD. Internist. Personal interview. 16 April 2020. HIV rash usually causes blotches and spots on the skin, red for people with fair skin and dark purplish for people with dark skin.
  • The severity of the rash varies from patient to patient. Some get a very severe rash that covers a large area, while others only have a minor rash.
  • If the HIV rash is the result of antiviral medications, the rash will appear as raised reddish lesions that cover your whole body. These rashes are called drug eruptions.
  • 2Note if the rash appears on your shoulders, chest, face, upper body, and hands. This is usually where the HIV rash shows up on your body. However, the rash tends to disappear by itself within a few weeks. Some people mistake it for an allergic reaction or eczema.
  • HIV rash is not transmittable, so there is no risk of spreading HIV via this rash.
  • 3Pay attention to other symptoms that may occur when you have HIV rash. These include:XResearch source
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • How Does Hiv Affect Pregnancy

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    In all developed countries, women will be tested for HIV infection during pregnancy and at the beginning of their pregnancy.

    If a woman did not get that test for whatever reason, for example if it was refused, and she got infected with HIV during pregnancy, this can lead to serious consequences for the baby.

    The baby can potentially be infected with HIV after birth, unless the mother has received significant anti-HIV medication called highly active antiretroviral therapy, also known as HAART for short. This medication has been hughely successful in reducing mother to child transmission.

    For further information about the effects of STDs on pregnancy, watch our short video with Dr. Dominic Rowley:

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    How Are These Disorders Diagnosed

    Based on an individuals medical history and findings from a general physical exam, a physician will conduct a thorough neurological exam to assess various functions: motor and sensory skills, nerve function, hearing and speech, vision, coordination and balance, mental status, and changes in mood or behavior. The physician may order laboratory tests andone or more of the following procedures to help diagnose neurological complications of AIDS.

    Brain imaging can reveal signs of brain inflammation, tumors and CNS lymphomas, nerve damage, bleeding, white matter irregularities, and other abnormalities. Several painless imaging procedures are used to help diagnose neurological complications of AIDS.

    • Computed tomography uses x-rays and a computer to produce two-dimensional images of bone and tissue to show inflammation, certain brain tumors and cysts, brain damage from head injury, and other abnormalities. It provides more details than an x-ray alone.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging uses a computer-generated radio waves, and a powerful magnetic field to produce either a detailed three-dimensional picture or a two-dimensional slice of body structures, including tissues, organs, bones, and nerves. It does not use the ionizing radiation that an x-ray does and provides a better look at tissue located near bone.

    Ocular Manifestations In Developing Countries

    Most HIV-infected individuals are in developing countries, particularly, sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The prevalence of CMV retinitis among HIV-infected persons in these developing countries is lower than in developed countries.

    However, ocular complications of toxoplasmosis and tuberculosis, herpes zoster ophthalmicus, and papillomavirus-associated conjunctival squamous cell tumor are more prevalent in HIV-infected persons in developing countries. This increased prevalence may be secondary to increased exposure to causative agents and lack of access to antiretroviral therapy in these countries.

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    How To Protect Your Eyes From Covid

    • Avoid rubbing your eyes
    • Use a clean tissue to instead of fingers if your eyes are itchy
    • Stock up on eye care supplies and medications
    • Wear glasses instead of contact lenses during the pandemic
    • Do not delay treatment for serious eye issues
    • Consider wearing safety goggles when caring for COVID-19 patients

    Can You Get Gonorrhea In Your Eye

    HIV Affecting Eyes?

    You can get gonorrhea in your eye if it comes in contact with infected fluids. When it does, the condition is called gonococcal conjunctivitis. While the risk of contracting gonococcal conjunctivitis is very low, its worth making yourself aware of the symptoms gonorrhea can cause in your eye, how to treat the problem, and how to prevent it.

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    How Does Herpes Affect Pregnancy

    When a woman has been infected with herpes before getting pregnant, there is no danger to the baby at all. The only time herpes can affect a baby is if the first set of herpes outbreak occurs during the pregnancy. In this case, your doctor will provide you with antiviral medication, which will not affect your baby.

    If you develop an outbreak of herpes in the later stages of pregnancy, your doctor may decide that the best protocol would be a cesarean, also known as a c-section.

    Where there is herpes outbreak or blisters around the vaginal area, and the baby is passing through the birth canal at the time of delivery, the baby can be infected with herpes.

    S Of The Eyes Affected By Covid

  • Conjunctiva:Conjunctivitis or tearing of eyes may be the first symptom of a viral infection. This is caused by inflammation of the clear mucus membrane that envelops the eye. The primary symptom of conjunctivitis is a pink or reddish color that occurs when the blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed, making them more visible. Other symptoms of conjunctivitis include eye redness, irritation, soreness, itchiness, tearing, watery discharge, eyelid swelling, congestion, and chemosis. Though these symptoms rarely present as an initial symptom, it is more commonly seen in patients with severe systemic symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Sclera: Episcleritis is a possible complication of COVID-19. It is an inflammatory condition that affects the episcleral tissue between the conjunctiva and the sclera, or white part of the eye. The link between COVID-19 and episcleritis may include vasculo-immunological factors and coagulation disorders.
  • Retina: Retinal microvascular changes have been noted on ocular imaging in people with COVID-19. These signs were even seen in asymptomatic people with normal vital signs. Various fundoscopic findings of the retina include retinal microhemorrhages, retinal vascular tortuosity, retinal vascular occlusion, cotton wool spots, and hyper-reflective plaques in the ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer. Retinal involvement of the infection often presents in the form of a decrease in vision or blindness.
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