Recognize the Signs of HIV

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV is a lentivirus that when left untreated will gradually process to AIDS. The process of the HIV virus is to affect the immune system by destroying the white blood cells which are responsible to ward off diseases and infections in the human body. Doctors are agreed that even with the appearance of symptoms, an HIV test will be the only way an individual can get confirmation if he or she is infected or not.

Here is a list of early onset symptoms that may or may not make an appearance:

An extreme feeling of tiredness or fatigue that has no probable cause or explanation would be an early onset indication. While it is true that a lot of diseases could also cause fatigue, the fatigue that is present in an HIV-infected person will have the following characteristic:

There are times that we feel sleepy at the start or middle of the day maybe because we were not able to get a good night’s sleep. For an HIV-infected person, the sleepy feeling will be felt throughout the day even after a restful and uninterrupted sleep the night before. The energy level is also way down which forces an infected individual to take frequent naps. The fatigue that is felt is not only for a day but continues for weeks and even a month.

Excessive night sweats accompanied by fever is another sign. This usually happens during the primary or acute stage of an HIV infection. Many infected people may not feel this, but most of them will experience this around two to four weeks from infection.

Other than night sweats and fever, there will be manifestations of flu-like symptoms such as chills, swollen lymph nodes and glands in the genital area, neck, and armpits, a sore throat, headache, muscle aches and pains, and nausea. Again, it has to be stated that the flu-like symptoms can also be manifestations from other infections that would not necessarily be an HIV virus disease.

There will be some instances of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. This will result in weight loss that is one of the symptoms of either the first phase or last phase of an HIV infection. They can also be symptoms of other illnesses or infection.

Growth of mouth and genital ulcers are some of the early signs of an HIV infection. Most of the time these ulcers are painless but would still be a cause for concern.

The second phase of an HIV disease is the latency period where symptoms disappear even when nothing has been done. The latency stage covers a long period where the infected individual will look and feel healthy. It is also the most dangerous period for spreading the infection especially when the infected individual does not get an HIV test. This will make the infected person unaware that he or she has the HIV infection as they feel healthy and robust and think that the period of sickness that happened was only a flu infection.

HIV Symptoms In Women

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.