The Warning Signs of HIV

The Warning Signs of HIV

HIV transmission is a serious case. It is what everyone should watch out for. There’s absolutely every need to look out for the red signals.

When HIV is detected at the early stage, it is possible to treat it promptly and efficiently, thus controlling the virus and inhibiting its progression into HIV stage 3. HIV Stage 3 is the clinical term for AIDS.

Initial Symptoms of HIV

The first signs of HIV are usually symptoms that are associated with flu. Such signs include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Pains in the joints and muscles
  • Oral ulcers
  • Genital warts and ulcers
  • Rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Night sweats

The initial symptoms of HIV shows up at least a month or two after infection with the virus. However, also says they can show up even two weeks after exposure to the virus. Some patients may not experience any early symptoms even after exposure to the virus. You should note that the symptoms listed above also show up in common illnesses and health conditions; it is therefore necessary to consult your physician when they show up. Symptoms can last between few days to some weeks. Try not to assume that you have HIV just because you’ve exhibited the symptoms.

See more: HIV Symptom Checker

Note that some people can stay up to ten years after exposure without exhibiting the symptoms. This does not imply that the virus has gone. HIV can progress to the third stage (full-blown AIDS) even in the absence of the symptoms. This is why so much emphasis is laid on testing. What the HIV test does is to detect the presence of antibodies and not the virus itself. The HIV antibodies are proteins made by the body as it reacts to the HIV. These antibodies may be produced a few weeks or longer after exposure to the virus.

After infection, the virus grows, multiplies and progresses to the Stage 3 (AIDS). Symptoms that indicate that the virus has progressed to stage 3 include but not limited to:

  • Extremely high fevers
  • Rashes
  • Night sweats and chills
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Extreme weight loss
  • White spots in the mouth
  • Persistent and frequent fatigue
  • Pneumonia
  • Genital sores
  • Memory problems

Stages of HIV

Acute HIV infection or Primary HIV infection is the first stage of HIV. Clinically, it is referred to as Acute Retroviral Syndrome. The symptoms most common at this stage are flu-like symptoms.

The next stage of infection is the Clinical Latency Stage. The activities of the virus are lessened at this stage though it still remains in the body. The latency stage can last for up to ten years. In some cases, it can last longer. At this stage, many patients may not exhibit the symptoms of HIV. What you should note is that transmission of the virus can still take place at the latency stage. However, people who have been placed on Anti-retroviral therapy are much less likely to transmit the virus than those who have not had the virus suppressed.

The last stage of infection is the Stage 3. At this stage, the immune system is greatly compromised, leaving the body vulnerable to infections. The body becomes less resistant to infections – known as opportunistic infections.

How contagious is it?

HIV is extremely contagious no matter how short it stays in the body. At this phase, the blood vessels of HIV are extremely high, thus it is easy to transmit the virus to others.

It is best to get tested early. This is because not everyone experiences the early and warning signs of the disease. Thus, one may think he is free when actually, he isn’t. The advantage of early diagnosis is that it gives you the chance to suppress the virus and prevent transmission to others (especially your sexual partner).

What else do I need to consider?

It is important to note that the HIV itself doesn’t make one sick. The sick feeling that accompanies HIV infection arises from opportunistic infections. People with strong and active immune systems do keep the infections at bay. However, with HIV, the integrity of the immune system is severely compromised and pathogens can cause illness. People who do not exhibit warning symptoms do get seriously sick when the disease progresses to the Stage 3. This is why it is recommended that you go for tests as frequently as possible.

Taking an HIV tests is a sure way to know whether or not you’ve been infected.

Mark Riegel, MD

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