HIV- Associated Rheumatic Disease Syndrome 2018-02-21T18:57:34-06:00




HIV rheumatic disease syndrome is a disease that doctors and researchers have studied for years and what we now know is that it affects more than just the blood, but it may also cause rheumatic diseases. When you have HIV, it affects the blood which also affects the immune system. Many people lose their fight to HIV because their immune system becomes too weak to fight. With new treatments, people are living long lives with HIV infection. The problem with HIV is that it has a lot of complications. Unfortunately, one of those complications is related to rheumatic diseases. Inflammation is a natural mechanism the body has to help fight infection and bring healing, but it may also destroy parts of the body. If you have HIV, it is best to get information on all the complications and ways to treat those things.


HIV, also known as the human immunodeficiency virus may also turn into AIDs or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.  AIDs is spread through contact with an infected person. It is primarily spread through sexual contact. It can be spread through needles and blood. HIV is so serious because it attacks the immune system. The immune system is our primary defense mechanism. When you get the flu or break a bone, it is always the immune system that takes effect and tries to bring healing. There are many different cells associated with the immune system. HIV specifically attacks the T-helper cells. These cells are some of the most important cells in immunity. The T-helper cells help activate other cells that kill an infection. Not having the T-helper cells causes the immune system to fail. You cannot fight off any infections at all. When your T-helper cells reach a level of 200 cells per milliliter of blood or under, the HIV is now considered AIDS.

Rheumatic Diseases

Many people are not familiar with rheumatic diseases. Arthritis is a common rheumatic disease that may be the only one that comes to mind. Arthritis affects the joints, but you can also have inflammatory responses in other areas of the body too. You may not be familiar with other rheumatic disease associated with HIV. These diseases include:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Reactive Arthritis
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Polymyositis
  • Vasculitis

All of these diseases involve inflammation of different parts of the body. Reactive arthritis is arthritis triggered by other diseases and in this case, HIV. Psoriatic arthritis causes skin problems and primarily affects those who already have psoriasis. Fibromyalgia is pain and tenderness all over the body that is hard to target. Polymyositis is inflammation of the muscles. Vasculitis is inflammation of the vascular system. When you have inflammation throughout the body, it can be very difficult to handle. Your quality of life is affected.


The symptoms of HIV- Associated Rheumatic Disease Syndrome are vast. You first deal with the symptoms of HIV. Your pain and discomfort only multiply when other diseases begin. When you first come in contact with HIV, you tend to have flu-like symptoms that go away after a while. You then become asymptomatic. Your symptoms do not typically begin again until you reach the point of having AIDs. You then become very fatigue. You lose weight; you also have fever and night sweats. The infections that you can normally get rid of easily continue to come back. At this point, you feel pain in the muscles and joints. You become stiff and uncomfortable. When you start having swelling in the blood vessels, you lose oxygen and blood to certain parts of the body which can be life-threatening. The bones may suffer as well. You can notice that you get breaks much easier than you did previously.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The first step of diagnosis is examining a patient with HIV. HIV is usually already diagnosed before you start having rheumatoid disease symptoms. Already having a diagnosis makes it easier for the doctor to diagnosis your rheumatic diseases. Telling your doctor about your joint and muscle pain is all you need for them to make a diagnosis. Treatment for the rheumatic disease begins with treatment for HIV. The best treatment for both diseases is antiretroviral drugs. Doctors are combining three drugs into one. These drugs have done well to prevent HIV from reaching AIDs and prevent the onset of rheumatic diseases. Physical therapy can also help with treatment. In more severe cases, immune-suppressing drugs may be used.

HIV is a serious condition that you must protect yourself from. If you have HIV, getting treatment right away can prevent the onset of rheumatoid diseases. Once the symptoms of rheumatoid diseases begin, it is best to talk with a physician about it. It is okay to do physical therapy to help ease the pain, and they may add other medications as well. HIV can be life-threatening; therefore, you cannot ignore your symptoms. Get the treatment you need.


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