Communicable Diseases Module: 21. Opportunistic Infections and WHO HIV Clinical Staging

Study Session 21  Opportunistic Infections and WHO HIV Clinical Staging


In this study session, you will be introduced to the most common opportunistic infections and diseases that result from the decreased immunity observed in people living with HIV (PLHIV). Knowledge of the signs and symptoms of opportunistic infections will enable you to easily recognise them in patients in your healthcare and community settings.

In addition, you will learn how to categorise HIV patients into the four stages recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO clinical staging system has been adapted by the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) to include a list of the common infections and diseases occurring in PLHIV in an Ethiopian context. After studying this session, you should be able to group patients living with HIV into the four different WHO clinical stages of HIV/AIDS. Staging will help you to differentiate patients who need urgent clinical assessment and referral to the nearest health facility to receive standardised care and treatment interventions.

Lastly, this session describes the standard chemoprophylactic treatments for opportunistic infections offered to PLHIV. You are not expected to provide prophylactic treatments at your setting, but you should be familiar with the commonly used prophylactic drugs so that you can make community follow-ups for PLHIV.

Chemoprophylactic treatments (or chemoprophylaxis) refers to drug-based medication taken to prevent opportunistic infections from developing.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 21