10 Early Signs and Symptoms of HIV Infection
December 1, 2020
If you’re worried about HIV infection, it’s important to be aware of the early signs and symptoms. By recognizing these signs, you can take prompt action and seek appropriate medical care. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the 10 early HIV-positive signs and symptoms to help you better understand and identify the condition.
One of the early signs of HIV infection is experiencing a fever and fatigue. You may mistake this for the flu or a common cold, but it is important to pay attention to these symptoms, especially if they persist for an extended period of time. HIV can weaken the immune system, leading to persistent fatigue and a low-grade fever.
If you are experiencing these symptoms and have concerns about HIV infection, it is important to get tested and seek medical advice.
Early detection and treatment can greatly improve outcomes for individuals living with HIV.
Another early HIV-positive sign is a sore throat and headache.
These symptoms can occur as the body’s immune system responds to the virus.
The sore throat may be accompanied by swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Headaches can range from mild to severe and may be persistent.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to get an HIV test and consult with a healthcare professional.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage the virus and prevent further complications.
Rash and skin problems are common symptoms of HIV infection. The rash may appear as small, red bumps or as larger, flat patches on the skin.
It can be itchy and may spread to different parts of the body. In some cases, the rash may be accompanied by other skin problems such as dryness, flakiness, or sores.
It is important to note that these skin problems can also be due to other factors, so HIV testing is crucial to determine the underlying cause.
Any unusual changes in your skin should prompt you to seek medical advice.
Swollen lymph nodes are another common early sign of HIV infection.
Lymph nodes are part of the body’s immune system and can become enlarged when the body is fighting off an infection.
In the case of HIV, the virus attacks and weakens the immune system, causing the lymph nodes to swell.
Swollen lymph nodes are often painless.
You may feel them in areas such as the neck, armpits, and groin. If you notice any persistent swelling or enlargement of your lymph nodes, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and testing.
Muscle and joint pain can be early HIV-positive signs.
This pain can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by stiffness, tenderness, or swelling in the affected area. It is important to note that muscle and joint pain can have many causes, so experiencing these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have HIV.
However, if you are at risk for HIV or have engaged in high-risk behaviours, you should get a test and speak with a healthcare professional if you experience persistent or worsening muscle and joint pain.
Early detection and treatment are crucial for managing HIV infection.
The full meaning of HIV is ‘Human Immunodeficiency Virus’.
When the virus (HIV) enters the human body, it multiplies in the white blood cells (WBC).
The WBC usually helps the human body fight infections.
They are important to your immune system.
By infecting and multiplying in your WBCs, HIV infection attacks the cells that are supposed to protect you.
As a result, your immune system gets weaker and weaker (over a period of time).
However, how long it takes to significantly weaken and destroy the immune system depends on your health status.
AIDS (which means Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is the result of HIV infection progressing to a point where the body’s immune system becomes weakened and destroyed.
Now, this can happen slowly in many people, taking on an average of 10 years to advance into AIDS if the HIV infection is not treated.
At this point, the body is unable to fight off infections and diseases, which can be life-threatening. This can happen in either of two situations:
So, the first step is to be aware of your HIV status by taking the HIV test and getting the right counselling.
This is the case whether you develop HIV-positive signs or are concerned for other reasons.
Secondly, you need to start receiving appropriate treatment immediately if you test positive for HIV.
Early treatment of HIV infection would stop the infection from progressing to AIDS.
While every one of us has a fear of the unknown and the stigma (discrimination) against people living with HIV, this should not discourage you from knowing your HIV status.
This is because a positive HIV test does not mean that you have AIDS. It means that you have an HIV infection.
People with HIV infection can enjoy a long and healthy life if they receive appropriate treatment.
We call the medications we currently use in treating HIV infection Antiretroviral drugs, and – they are very effective.
If you are HIV positive, antiretroviral therapy helps to keep you in stable health and reduces the amount of the virus (viral load) in the body.
Over time, the virus numbers become “undetectable” in your blood as long as you are receiving the appropriate treatment.
Another, therefore, benefit is that lower viral loads reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
And it means that somebody who is HIV positive (and receiving appropriate treatment) cannot transmit or infect their partner or contact.
Studies such as the PARTNER study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on the 12th of July, 2016, have proven this fact:
Undetectable equals Untransmittable.
To summarise, these are the 8-points we need to know about HIV and AIDS:
Are you still unsure about checking your HIV status today? Talk to us here.
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality healthcare.
The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly
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