People infected with the HIV virus have weakened immune systems because of the virus’ attack on the white blood cells. HIV’s natural pathway will be AIDS if left untreated. The virus’ receptacles are body fluids such as blood, vaginal fluids, and semen. The virus needs a host body in order to survive which is why it is so virulent the moment it enters a person’s body via the mucous membranes of the mouth, rectum, bloodstream, vagina, and urethra.
There is a degree of difference in manifested symptoms between men and women. In men, the symptoms may range from swollen but painless lymph nodes in the armpits, groin or neck, headaches and fever, and an unexplained drop in energy levels and stamina.
In the past, more men were infected with the HIV virus than women. Today, the slow rise in the number of women infected with HIV has grown more than men and has been noted to rank on the same level as cancer and heart disease as one of the conditions that leads to their mortality rate. The younger generation of African-American women is more affected compared to their older generation. It usually takes more than three years before symptoms appear which makes HIV asymptomatic in women.
A persistent recurrence of infections in the vagina particularly yeast infections is the usual symptoms in women infected with the HIV virus. Other common symptoms include abnormal findings in pap smears, pelvic inflammatory disease or PID accompanied by genital ulcers or warts.
A disruption in the natural flow of monthly cycles that produces abnormalities is a possible sign of HIV infection. A non-pregnant state with a manifestation of several missed periods is a notable abnormality, which over time lead to the cessation of periods is another sign for a woman to suspect that she is infected with HIV. After several weeks after periods cease, the infected female will manifest flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, pains and aches in different parts of the body, fatigue, and fever. These signs signify the way the immune system tries to ward off the HIV infection. There will be additional signs such as loss of appetite and diarrhea that leads to dramatic weight loss.
The best action to take is to get an appointment for an HIV/AIDS test and counseling from a medical practitioner should any or all of these symptoms are manifested. An HIV test does not bore the shame and stigma it had before and it has also become affordable as well. There are numerous HIV testing centers that will test and treat you efficiently, quickly, and reliably without foregoing your privacy. Submitting to an HIV test will not only give you a chance to live for a longer time but also help in preventing the spread of infection which you will do inadvertently as you were not even aware that you already have the HIV infection.
HIV symptoms may be different between sexes, but the need to get an HIV test if they suspect to have acquired the infection is equally important for both of them.