How Do You Know If Someone Is Hiv Positive – HIV has several stages of infection. In the initial phase after exposure, symptoms may include cold or flu-like symptoms. This may resolve on its own while HIV is still active in the body. It then progresses to a chronic infection, with symptoms that can vary widely but include weight loss, fatigue, and unexplained fevers. The chronic phase can occur any time after the acute phase, but it is not necessarily immediately after. If left untreated, HIV can develop into AIDS, which is diagnosed based on the number of white blood cells circulating in the blood.
HIV is a virus that compromises the immune system. There is currently no cure for HIV, but since the late 1980s, treatment with antiretroviral drugs has been available to reduce the impact of symptoms.
How Do You Know If Someone Is Hiv Positive
In most cases, when a person becomes infected with HIV, the virus remains in the body for life. However, HIV symptoms differ from the symptoms of other viral infections in that they occur in stages.
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If left untreated, the disease caused by the infection has three stages. Everyone has different symptoms and potential complications.
But regular antiretroviral therapy can reduce HIV to levels that are undetectable in the blood. This means that the virus does not progress to a later stage of HIV infection or infect a partner during sex.
The first detectable stage is primary HIV infection. This phase is also called acute retroviral syndrome (SARS) or acute HIV infection.
It often causes flu-like symptoms, so at this point someone may think they have a bad flu or some other viral illness instead of HIV. Fever is the most common symptom.
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Primary HIV symptoms may appear 2 to 4 weeks after initial exposure. They can last for several weeks. However, some people may only have symptoms for a few days.
ARS is common when a person develops HIV. But that’s not the case for everyone, as symptoms can take a decade or more to appear, according to HIV.gov.
Although the virus replicates rapidly in the weeks following infection, early HIV symptoms usually only appear if the rate of cell destruction is high.
This does not mean that asymptomatic cases of HIV are milder or that an asymptomatic person cannot transmit the virus to others.
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After initial exposure and eventual primary infection, HIV may enter a clinically latent phase of infection. Because some people have no symptoms, this is also called asymptomatic HIV infection.
According to HIV.gov, the latency of HIV infection can last up to 10 or 15 years. This means that the virus replicates much more slowly than before. But that doesn’t mean that HIV is gone or that the virus can’t be passed on to other people.
Chronic HIV symptoms can range from minimal to more severe. People may experience the following episodes, especially in advanced stages:
Clinically latent infection can progress to the third and final stage of HIV, known as AIDS. The chance of progression is greater if the HIV patient does not receive or adhere to treatment, such as antiretroviral therapy.
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) blood is a sign that HIV has progressed to its final stages. The normal range is 500-1600 cells/mm
Sometimes AIDS is determined simply by a person’s overall health—it develops when HIV significantly weakens the immune system and can lead to AIDS-defining conditions, such as certain infections and cancers, that are rare in people without HIV.
People who may be infected with HIV more often are advised to get tested at least once a year. This may include people:
, and each has a different window period—the time between potential exposure to HIV and the test to detect the virus. If you may have been exposed to HIV in the past 72 hours, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can help prevent infection.
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Nucleic acid tests can usually detect HIV infection 10 to 33 days after exposure.
Antigen/antibody tests using venous blood have a typical window period of 18 to 45 days, while fingertip antigen/antibody tests can be used 23 to 90 days after potential exposure.
A positive result is also confirmed with a follow-up test (also known as a “confirmation test”). If the second test is positive, you will be diagnosed with HIV.
Finding out that you are HIV positive can be difficult for some. But there are health professionals who can help – both physically and mentally.
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Your regular doctor can help you directly or refer you to someone living with HIV. Alternatively, you can find a local doctor with experience in HIV here.
It is important to start treatment as soon as HIV is diagnosed. Consult a doctor or other healthcare professional if you notice new or worsening symptoms.
The infection can be controlled with antiretroviral drugs. They should be taken at all stages of HIV – even if there are no noticeable symptoms.
Inside the body, preventing it from replicating and can lower levels so significantly that the virus cannot be detected.
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Therefore, the drugs help prevent the progression of the disease, maintain the quality of life and can prevent the virus from being transmitted to others through sex.
You may be given combination drugs to prevent the virus from becoming resistant. Most people have an undetectable viral load within 6 months.
If this is not possible, any sexual partner can be protected by taking a medicine called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Condoms should also be used to prevent infections during sex.
The amount of HIV in your blood with viral load tests and check the number of CD4 cells in your blood – this will help fight infections.
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If HIV develops into AIDS, other medical procedures are usually needed to treat AIDS-related illnesses or complications, which can be life-threatening.
The only 100% effective way to prevent HIV is to avoid sharing drug injecting equipment and to abstain from sex.
The first symptoms usually appear within a few weeks of exposure. However, some people do not experience symptoms until years later.
Regular testing is very important if you have a higher chance of contracting HIV. With prompt and appropriate treatment, the infection and its symptoms can be controlled, helping you and your sexual partners stay as healthy as possible.
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Lauren Sharkey is a British journalist and author specializing in women’s issues. When he’s not trying to figure out how to banish migraines, he can find answers to his latent health questions. She has also written a book profiling young female activists around the world and is currently building a community of such resisters. Catch him on Twitter.
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Our experts constantly monitor the state of health and well-being and we update articles when new information becomes available. Clinically Reviewed by Cameron White, M.D., MPH – Ann Pietrangelo and Kristeen Cherney – Updated March 29, 2022
Most people are probably familiar with HIV, but may not know how it can affect the body.
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HIV destroys CD4 cells (also called T cells or helper cells), which are critical to the immune system. CD4 cells are responsible for keeping people healthy and protecting them from common diseases and infections.
HIV targets cell types that normally fight off an invader like HIV. As the virus replicates, it damages or destroys the infected CD4 cell and produces more virus to infect more CD4 cells.
Without treatment, this cycle can continue until the immune system is severely compromised, putting the person at risk for serious illness and infection.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the final stage of HIV. At this stage, the immune system is very weakened and the risk of getting opportunistic infections is much higher.
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However, not all HIV patients develop AIDS. The sooner a person receives treatment, the better the outcome.
The immune system prevents the body from getting diseases and infections that come its way. White blood cells protect the body from viruses, bacteria and other organisms that can make a person sick.
A few days after being exposed to the virus, an HIV patient may have a flu-like illness that lasts for a few weeks. This is related to the first stage of HIV, called the acute phase of infection or acute HIV.
An HIV-positive person may not have many serious symptoms at this stage, but there are usually large amounts of the virus in the blood because the virus multiplies so quickly.
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The next stage is called the chronic infection stage. It can take up to 10-15 years. An HIV-positive person may or may not have signs or symptoms at this stage.
Kaposi’s sarcoma, another possible complication, is a cancer of the blood vessel walls. It is rare in the general population, but is more common in people with advanced HIV.
Symptoms include dark red or purple lesions
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