Signs And Symptoms Of HIV You Should Be Aware Of

Signs And Symptoms Of HIV You Should Be Aware Of
Source – LabioTech

You can only know for sure whether you have HIV by being tested. Although the virus may induce symptoms, they aren’t a reliable indicator of infection. 

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 3rd June 2022.

Signs And Symptoms Of HIV You Should Be Aware Of

You can only know for sure whether you have HIV by being tested. Although the virus may induce symptoms, they aren’t a reliable indicator of infection. Some people will show no signs or symptoms at all. If you believe you are at risk, you should be tested even if you don’t have any of the usual symptoms of an illness.

Am I at Risk for HIV?

Blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid (also known as pre-cum), vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, and breast milk are all examples of bodily fluids that may transmit HIV. Having vaginal or anal intercourse without a condom or exchanging needles with someone who has HIV pose the greatest dangers. However, additional factors might enhance your chances of getting it.

According to the CDC, everyone in the United States between the ages of 13 and 64 should be tested for HIV at least once as a precaution. In addition, you should ask yourself the following questions and be tested if you respond yes to any of them:

  • Have you had unprotected sex with an HIV-positive individual or someone whose HIV status you don’t know?
  • Have you ever injected medications (such as hormones, steroids, or silicone) and shared needles or syringes?
  • Have you been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD)?
  • Have you been given tuberculosis (TB) or hepatitis diagnosis?
  • Have you ever had sex with someone who would say “yes" to any of the following questions?
  • Have you been the victim of sexual assault?

Source - TheBody

How Long Does It Take to Show Symptoms of HIV?

Some individuals get flu-like symptoms 1-4 weeks after contracting the virus. They usually last a week or two, barely. Acute or primary HIV infection is the term for this stage.

After that, you could be symptom-free for ten years or more. Asymptomatic HIV infection is what it’s termed. The virus is still active in your body, even though you feel fine. And you still have the option of giving it to someone else.

Once HIV has weakened your immune system, you’re vulnerable to infections that a healthy body would be able to fight off. You begin to notice issues caused by such “opportunistic" infections at this stage, symptomatic HIV infection.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of HIV?

Symptoms of HIV vary from person to person, and others may not have any at all. However, over time, the infection may produce several typical changes.

During the first weeks: Because your body is responding to HIV, you may have flu-like symptoms at first. Your immune system is attempting to combat it. At this point, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Throat irritation
  • swollen glands
  • Rash
  • Muscle and joint aches and pains

Remember that just because you experience these symptoms doesn’t guarantee you’re infected with HIV. A variety of illnesses may cause these issues. If you suspect you’ve been infected with HIV, see a doctor or go to an HIV testing centre.

It’s vital to understand that an HIV test may not provide reliable findings at this stage of HIV infection. It may take 3-12 weeks for adequate evidence of the virus to show up on conventional HIV testing that assesses antibodies to the virus. A new kind of screening called a nucleic acid test can identify the virus itself at this stage, but it’s pricey and isn’t used for regular HIV testing.

Tell the testing centre or your doctor if you suspect you’ve been infected lately. Also, wear a condom every time you have sex and take additional precautions to prevent the infection from spreading.

Months to years after infection: Most HIV patients will begin to feel better once the initial stage has ended. However, this does not imply that the disease is no longer present. Other symptoms might take a decade to manifest. If your HIV infection is left untreated during this period, the virus will continue to infect new cells in your body.

After years of untreated HIV, you’re more likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungus that your body can’t fight. They might indicate that your HIV infection has progressed to AIDS. You might have:

  • Loss of weight
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Cough that refuses to go away
  • Sweats at night
  • Problems with the mouth and skin
  • Infections that occur often
  • Ailments or diseases that are serious

These symptoms may potentially be indicators of other diseases and aren’t always indicative of HIV or AIDS. To be sure, get your blood checked.

The key to surviving and living with HIV is to start treatment as soon as possible. Survival rates among individuals infected and adhering to treatment have grown dramatically in the 20 years after combination therapy was introduced. According to studies, the life duration of HIV patients receiving regular treatment may be roughly the same as that of someone who does not have HIV, depending on how early the infection is treated.

Sources

  1. https://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/do-i-have-hiv 
  2. AIDS.gov: “Symptoms of HIV,” “Who is at Risk for HIV?”
  3. Avert: “Symptoms and Stages of HIV Infection.”
  4. CDC: “HIV/AIDS: Testing.”

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