HIV + 30 Year Old diagnosed with Pneumonia Case Study Discussion Solution

HIV + 30 Year Old diagnosed with Pneumonia Case Study Discussion


 In this case study, the 30-year old patient has a history of IV drug use, is HIV+, and is diagnosed with pneumonia. According to Capriotti and Frizzell (2017), HIV mainly infects CD4 cells, which are called helper T cells. CD4 cells play an important role in the human immune system by influencing all other cells of the immune system, including other T cells, B lymphocytes, macrophages, and NK cells (Capriotti & Frizzell, 2017).

Additionally, CD4 cells are key players in cell-mediated immunity and are also involved in antibody-mediated adaptive immunity (Capriotti & Frizzell, 2017). In other words, when HIV attacks CD4 cells, it can potentially destroy both cell-mediated and antibody-mediated immune responses, which are two of the strongest human defense mechanisms (Capriotti & Frizzell, 2017).

                Once HIV infects CD4 cells, it fuses with CD4 cell surface receptors, and it inserts its RNA into the cell and uses an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to make viral DNA from RNA, which is then inserted into CD4 cell genome (Capriotti & Frizzell, 2017). When this happens, the HIV DNA makes the host cell CD4 synthesize and replicate more HIV particles (Capriotti & Frizzell, 2017).

It is also terrifying that once HIV uses a CD4 cell to make more HIV, it then destroys the CD4 cell and moves on to the next CD4 cell (Capriotti & Frizzell, 2017). It is important to note that while the CD4 is inactive, HIV remains to be dormant until CD4 begins to replicate (Capriotti & Frizzell, 2017). In this way, HIV uses CD4 as a factory for HIV to multiply, and destroys the body’s immune system in the process.

                An important concept regarding HIV is the topic of viral load, which is a measure of how much virus is found in the blood stream (Capriotti & Frizzell, 2017). A viral load of over 100,000 copies/ml indicates a high risk for the development of AIDS for the patient (Capriotti & Frizzell, 2017).

As the viral load increases, the number of CD4 cells decreases because of viral replication (Capriotti & Frizzell, 2017). When the number of CD4 cells is at or below 200, a patient is likely to experience opportunistic infections, such as candida,  Pneumocysitis carinii pneumonia, toxoplasmosis, Cryptococcus, and TB (Capriotti & Frizzell, 2017).

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Hiv + 30 year old diagnosed with pneumonia case study discussion
HIV + 30 Year Old diagnosed with Pneumonia Case Study Discussion

                In the acute stage of the HIV infection, patients often experience flu-like symptoms and mucocutaneous lesions, which are called the acute retroviral syndrome (Dlugasch & Story, 2021). During this stage, HIV replicates rapidly and CD4 counts fluctuate (Dlugasch & Story, 2021). After this early infection stage, patients may be asymptomatic for months to years while the virus continues to replicate slowly (Dlugasch & Story, 2021).

Once the patient enters the late stage of the infection, CD4 count drops drastically, opportunistic infections, such as pneumonia, will begin to occur (Dlugasch & Story, 2021). Thus, the patient in this case study, who is diagnosed with pneumonia, is likely to be in the late stage of the infection, rather than the acute stage. Additionally, his or her pneumonia is probably caused by  Pneumocysitis carinii attacking the weakened immune system with decreased CD4 count and increased viral load.

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