What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
No two people with HIV will have the same symptoms, and some may not have any at all. But the infection can cause some common changes over time.
In the first few weeks: These first, flu-like symptoms happen because your body is reacting to HIV. Your immune system is trying to fight it off. The symptoms at this stage can include:
- Aches and pains in muscles and joints
Keep in mind that even if you have these symptoms, that doesnât automatically mean you are HIV-positive. Many different illnesses can cause these problems. Talk to a doctor or an HIV testing facility if you think you might be infected.
At this early stage of HIV infection, itâs important to know that you may not get accurate results from an HIV test. It can take 3-12 weeks for enough signs of the virus to show up on routine tests for the infection, which measure antibodies against HIV. A new kind of screening, called a nucleic acid test, can detect the virus itself during this early stage, but itâs expensive and not usually used for routine HIV testing.
Let the testing site or your doctor know if you think you might be recently infected. Also, be sure to use a condom every time you have sex, and take other steps to prevent spreading the virus.
After years with untreated HIV, youâre likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that your body is no longer strong enough to fight off. They can be a sign that your infection has gone from HIV to AIDS. You might have:
Symptom : Fatigue And Headache
The inflammatory response generated by your besieged immune system can cause you to feel tired and lethargic. Sometimes it can make you feel winded while walking or generally feel out of breath. Fatigue can be both an early and later symptom of HIV.
There are several things that can cause a person to feel fatigued, so pay attention to your body and your lifestyle to see if you can draw a conclusion. If your fatigue persists, seek advice from your doctor.
Does Hiv Go Away
HIV doesnt go away on its own. It inserts itself into your DNA so your cells think that its a part of you. There can be many years without symptoms after initial infection, but HIV can still be damaging your immune system even if you dont feel sick.
There may be periods while on medication where the virus is not detectable by an HIV test. In these cases, HIV can be hiding in your body, undetected. It can wake up and start destroying your cells again in the future.
This is why continuing to take HIV medication, even if you dont feel sick or the virus is undetectable, is extremely important. Without treatment, HIV will weaken your immune system until you cant fight off other serious illnesses.
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Symptom : Swollen Lymph Nodes Achy Muscles And Joint Pain
Lymph nodes are part of your bodys immune system and protect your blood by getting rid of bacteria and viruses. They tend to get inflamed when theres an infection. Many of them are located in your armpit, groin and neck which can result in aches and pains in these areas.
Given these symptoms are common across many viral infections, they alone are not a reliable way to determine if the infection you are experiencing is HIV.
How Is Hiv Transmitted Or Spread
The following are the means by which the HIV virus is spread:
Vertical transmission. HIV can be spread to babies born to, or breastfed by, mothers infected with the virus.
Sexual contact. In adults and adolescents, HIV is spread most commonly by sexual contact with an infected partner. The virus enters the body through the lining of the vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, or abraded or irritated tissues in the lining of the mouth through sexual activity.
Blood contamination. HIV may also be spread through contact with infected blood. However, due to the screening of donated blood for evidence of HIV infection, the risk of acquiring HIV from blood transfusions is extremely low.
Needles. HIV is frequently spread by sharing needles, syringes, or drug use equipment with someone who is infected with the virus. Transmission from patient to health care worker, or vice-versa, through accidental sticks with contaminated needles or other medical instruments, is rare.
No known cases of HIV/AIDS have been spread by the following:
Enlarged lymph nodes
An HIV-infected child is usually diagnosed with AIDS when the immune system becomes severely damaged or other types of infections occur. As the immune system deteriorates, complications begin to develop. The following are some common complications, or symptoms, of the onset of AIDS. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
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What Does Hiv Do To A Person
HIV infects white blood cells of your immune system called CD4 cells, or helper T cells. It destroys CD4 cells, causing your white blood cell count to drop. This leaves you with an immune system that cant fight off infections, even those that wouldnt normally make you sick.
HIV initially makes you feel sick with flu-like symptoms. Then it can hide in your body for a long time without causing noticeable symptoms. During that time, it slowly destroys your T-cells. When your T-cells get very low or you begin to get certain illnesses that people with healthy immune systems dont get, HIV has progressed to AIDS.
AIDS can cause rapid weight loss, extreme tiredness, mouth or genital ulcers, fevers, night sweats and skin discolorations. Other illnesses and cancers often happen in people living with AIDS and can cause additional symptoms.
Whats a retrovirus?
A retrovirus is a virus that works backward from the way human cells do. Human cells have instructions that send a message to make building blocks for your body .
Retroviruses have their instructions written on RNA. When a retrovirus invades your cells, it changes its RNA to look like your cells instructions . Then it cuts your cells DNA and inserts its instructions into them. Your cell then acts as though the virus instructions are its own.
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Hiv
The best way to reduce your risk of HIV is to be aware of how it spreads and protect yourself during certain activities. Having sex without a condom and sharing needles to take drugs are the most common ways that HIV spreads.
These are some ways to reduce your risk:
- Use latex condoms whenever you have any type of sex .
- Don’t use condoms made from animal products .
- Use water-based lubricants .
- Never share needles to take drugs.
- Get tested and treated for other STDs. Other STDs can put you at higher risk for an HIV infection.
- Avoid getting drunk or high. Intoxicated people might be less likely to protect themselves.
- If you are at high risk of HIV exposure, ask your healthcare provider if you should be taking pre-exposure prophylaxis .
- If you think youve been exposed to HIV, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible to see if you should take post-exposure prophylaxis .
- Consider getting tested to know if you can pass HIV to others.
It’s important to use a condom correctly to protect yourself against HIV. Use a male condom for any sex act that involves your penis.
You can also protect the vagina or anus with dental dams or internal condoms. Dental dams are flat pieces of polyurethane or latex that you can put over your vagina or anus if you are having oral sex. An internal condom can be used by insertion into your vagina or anus.
You should only use one type of condom at a time. Do not use both a male condom and an internal condom.
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself With Hiv
The best way to take care of yourself while living with HIV is to follow your treatment plan.
- Make sure to take your medications as prescribed and on time.
- Show up to all appointments so your healthcare team can monitor how youre feeling and know if theres a need to adjust your treatment.
- Follow your healthcare providers recommendations on how to avoid additional illnesses.
The Hiv Ars Lymph Nodes
This is another great source of worry. I have seen patients who cannot stop rubbing their necks feeling for lymph nodes and melting into a panic state whenever they feel a lump that they have not felt before.
First of all, you can feel normal non-enlarged lymph nodes especially in thin people. So being able to palpate a lymph node does NOT mean it is enlarged.
Enlarged lymph nodes are about 1cm in diameter. In HIV ARS, there are usually many of such lymph nodes in the neck, groin and underarms. They are usually tender .
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Why Do Some People With Hiv Infection Develop Aids
Over time, untreated HIV infection damages the immune system and makes it more difficult to fight infections and cancers.
Before there were effective treatments for HIV infection, all infected people went on to develop AIDS within about 10 years. Today, people with HIV who take effective treatment are unlikely to develop AIDS and will have a near-normal life expectancy. This is because these medicines keep the amount of virus in their blood under control and protect the immune system.
Who Is At Risk Of Acute Hiv Infection
HIV can affect people of any age, sexual orientation or race, in any part of the world. However, certain groups of people are more at risk of contracting HIV than others. These can include people who:
- Have unprotected sex, particularly anal sex, with multiple partners
- when injecting substances
HIV can be spread in the following ways:
- Contact with infected blood
- Contact with infected vaginal and/or rectal fluids
- From mother to child during pregnancy or birth if the pregnant woman has HIV
- Less commonly, during breastfeeding if the breastfeeding woman has HIV and is not on antiretroviral treatment
- Sharing needles, syringes or drug preparation equipment with someone who has HIV
Other physical contact, such as hand-holding, kissing or hugging, does not transfer HIV..
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Can Medications Prevent Hiv
There are medications that can help prevent HIV in people who have been exposed or are at high risk for exposure. These include pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis .
PrEP is a pill you take every day if you dont have HIV but are at high risk of getting infected.
Specifically, its recommended that you take PrEP if you dont have HIV, if you have had anal or vaginal sex in the past six months and at least one of the following is true:
- You have a sexual partner with HIV.
- You havent consistently used a condom.
- In the past six months, youve been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease .
PrEP is also recommended if you dont have HIV, you inject drugs and at least one of the following is true:
- You inject drugs with a partner who has HIV.
- You share needles or other equipment to inject drugs.
PrEP is not a replacement for other preventative measures. You should still use condoms and avoid sharing needles to inject drugs while taking PrEP.
PEP uses HIV medicines to try to prevent an HIV infection soon after you are exposed. PEP is for those who dont have HIV or dont know if they have HIV and think theyve been exposed through consensual sex, sexual assault, shared needles , or work.
You must start PEP within 72 hours of exposure and take it every day for 28 days. PEP is only for emergency use and does not replace other precautions, like condom use.
How To Prevent Hiv From Progressing
The most effective way is to take antiretroviral medication as soon as possible and to do so consistently as prescribed.
Antiretroviral therapy keeps the immune system healthy and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to virtually zero.
The sooner a person receives a diagnosis, the sooner they can begin treatment. Early treatment can improve the persons outlook and lower the risk of the virus passing on to others.
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Can Hiv Be Cured By Natural Remedies
There is no cure for HIV. It cannot be treated or managed without proper medical therapy. It is important to seek healthcare as soon as a person is exposed to a potential risk of HIV infection. This will facilitate early diagnosis and treatment. It can be dangerous to seek nonscientific and unapproved treatment approaches. This will cause the management more difficult and may even lead to fatal complications.
Latency Causes A Break In Symptoms
After initial exposure and possible primary infection, HIV may transition into a stage called clinically latent infection. Its also referred to as asymptomatic HIV infection due to a noticeable lack of symptoms. This lack of symptoms includes possible chronic symptoms.
According to HIV.gov, latency in HIV infection can last for 10 or 15 years. This doesnt mean that HIV is gone, nor does it mean that the virus cant be transmitted to others. Clinically latent infection may progress to the third and final stage of HIV, also referred to as AIDS.
The risk for progression is higher if a person with HIV isnt receiving treatment, such as antiretroviral therapy. Its important to take prescribed medications during all stages of HIV even if there arent any noticeable symptoms. There are several medications used for HIV treatment.
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How Is Acute Hiv Infection Treated
Proper treatment is crucial for people diagnosed with HIV.
Healthcare providers and scientists agree that early treatment with antiretroviral drugs should be used by all HIV-positive people who are ready to start taking a daily medication.
Early treatment may minimize the viruss effects on the immune system.
Newer antiretroviral medications are usually very well tolerated, but theres always the possibility of side effects.
If a person thinks theyre experiencing a side effect of or an allergic reaction to their medication, they should immediately contact their healthcare provider.
In addition to medical treatment, healthcare providers may also suggest certain lifestyle adjustments, including:
Theres no cure for HIV, but treatment allows people with HIV to live long and healthy lives. The outlook is best for people who begin treatment before HIV has damaged their immune system.
Early diagnosis and the right treatment help prevent HIV progressing to AIDS.
Successful treatment improves both the life expectancy and quality of life of someone living with HIV. In most cases, HIV is considered a chronic condition and can be managed long term.
Treatment can also help someone living with HIV reach an undetectable viral load, at which point theyll be unable to transmit HIV to sexual partners.
Acute HIV infection can be prevented by avoiding exposure to the blood, semen, anal secretions, and vaginal fluid of a person living with HIV.
How Is Hiv Treated
HIV is treated with a combination of medicines taken by mouth every day. This combination of pills is called antiretroviral therapy .
Taking a combination of types of pills, rather than just one, is the most effective way to keep HIV from multiplying and destroying your cells. There are also combination pills that have several medications in a single pill. Your healthcare provider will carefully select a combination specifically for you.
The goal of ART is to reduce HIV in the blood to an amount thats not detectable by an HIV test and to slow HIVs weakening of your immune system.
Medications used to treat HIV
Each type of pill used in ART has a different way of keeping HIV from making more copies of itself or from infecting your cells. There can be many different brand names of the same type of ART drug.
Types of ART medications include:
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors .
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors .
- Protease inhibitors .
- Combination of HIV medicines.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Later Hiv
As HIV weakens someones immune system, they may experience signs of other illnesses:
- weight loss
- an increase in herpes or cold sore outbreaks
- swollen glands in the groin, neck or armpit
- long-lasting diarrhoea
But remember: people who dont have HIV can also get any of these they can be the signs of other illnesses.
A weakened immune system may leave someone more open to serious infections such as:
Whats The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
The difference between HIV and AIDS is that HIV is a virus that weakens your immune system. AIDS is a condition that can happen as a result of an HIV infection when your immune system is severely weakened.
You cant get AIDS if you arent infected with HIV. Thanks to treatment that slows down the effects of the virus, not everyone with HIV progresses to AIDS. But without treatment, almost all people living with HIV will advance to AIDS.
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Symptom : Nausea Vomiting And Diarrhoea
Many people experience digestive system problems as a symptom of the early stages of HIV. However, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea can also appear in later stages of infection, usually as the result of an opportunistic infection.
It is important to stay hydrated. Diarrhoea that is unremitting and not responding to usual therapy might be an indication of HIV, and it would be best to seek the advice of a doctor to help determine its cause.