How To Know If You Re Hiv Positive – The signs and symptoms of HIV infection (from the human immunodeficiency virus) can vary from person to person – and many people will not know they are infected for years after they are first exposed to the virus.
HIV infection is a progressive disease, meaning that it usually gets worse over time. In the early stages, symptoms can be mild and easily mistaken for a flu-like illness. However, as the disease progresses and destroys the immune system, other, more serious symptoms may develop.
How To Know If You Re Hiv Positive
Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs of HIV at different stages of infection. That way, you can get tested and start life-prolonging HIV treatment.
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“Even if you don’t have symptoms,” says Dr. Linda-Gail Becker, an infectious disease specialist in South Africa and president of the International AIDS Society, “early testing and treatment results in much better health and a near-normal life.” expected duration”.
Here is a list of HIV symptoms along with the stage of infection at which they are likely to appear:
Known as acute retroviral syndrome or ARS, the acute phase occurs soon after infection, when the immune system has yet to control the virus. During this time, about 40 to 90 percent of people will experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, while the rest will have no symptoms at all.
Although these signs usually appear within 7 to 14 days after exposure, they can appear as late as 3 days. About 30 percent of people with ARS will develop a maculopapular rash with pink to red bumps, usually on the upper half of the body. The rash will sometimes gradually coalesce into larger, raised hives.
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Around the 14th day, the virus will begin to rapidly stop multiplying. Although some people may experience symptoms of ARS for up to three months, most people will begin to feel better within two weeks as the immune system gradually brings the infection under control.
Exception: a symptom called lymphadenopathy, sometimes painful swelling of lymph nodes in areas of the body such as the neck, armpits, or groin. Even when other symptoms disappear, lymphadenopathy may persist for months or longer.
“It’s important to remember that resolution of symptoms does not mean the infection is gone,” says Dennis Sifries, MD, an HIV specialist at Lifesense Disease Management Group, based in South Africa. “HIV is not like hepatitis, which can disappear spontaneously. “HIV is forever and it’s better to treat it sooner rather than later.”
The chronic phase of infection occurs after the immune system has brought the virus under control. During this stage, HIV will go into hiding, where it resides in various cells and tissues throughout the body in a resting state known as latency. HIV latency can last without symptoms for 10 years or more, although some people may experience symptoms within a year or two.
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During the early chronic phase, lymphadenopathy may be the only significant sign of HIV infection. In some cases, the glands may be visibly enlarged and reach a size of an inch or more. If the condition lasts longer than three months, it is called persistent generalized lymphadenopathy (PGL).
Even during latency, the virus will multiply undetected and gradually deplete immune cells known as CD4 T cells. As the immune deficiency develops, a number of non-specific symptoms are likely to appear, including:
Each of these symptoms is commonly seen in immunocompromised individuals. In some cases, they can be caused by HIV itself or an infection that has yet to be diagnosed.
If left untreated, HIV will almost always lead to symptomatic disease. There is no time frame or pattern for when this might happen. In general, the poorer a person’s immune health (as measured by CD4 count), the higher the risk of certain diseases. We call these diseases “opportunistic” because they are harmful only when a person’s immune defenses are reduced.
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At some point, if still untreated, the decrease in the number of CD4 T cells can lead to a stage of the disease called AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. This is when the most serious opportunistic infections occur. AIDS is officially defined as either a CD4 CD4 count below 200 or the presence of at least one of the 27 different AIDS-defining conditions as listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Symptoms in later stages of HIV and AIDS include viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections, as well as cancers such as invasive cervical cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These infections affect organs and other parts of the body, including:
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HIV can affect anyone, and some symptoms may be different in women. In addition to flu-like symptoms and skin changes, a person may notice menstrual irregularities, more frequent vaginal infections, and mood changes.
Transgender women surveyed in seven major US cities have HIV, with two-thirds of African-American/Black transgender women and one-third of Hispanic transgender women reporting that they are HIV positive.
Below, we describe the symptoms of HIV in women, how doctors diagnose the condition, and what treatment options are available.
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Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to the sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Within weeks of being infected with HIV, the body undergoes seroconversion, a period in which the virus multiplies rapidly.
These symptoms can resemble those of a cold or flu, so a person may not initially associate them with HIV.
After an acute HIV infection, the virus continues to multiply more slowly. A person may or may not have symptoms.
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Treatment can slow or stop the progression of the virus. Even without treatment, some people do not experience additional symptoms for decades after the initial infection.
The neck may be swollen just below the jaw and behind the ears. Swelling can cause problems with swallowing and can last from a few days to months.
If a person is not treated for HIV, the virus can cause nausea, diarrhea, poor absorption of food and loss of appetite.
This can include depression, which can cause feelings of hopelessness and intense sadness. People can also experience stress and memory loss.
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Create unusual spots on the skin. They can be red, pink, brown or purple. These spots can appear inside the mouth, eyelids or nose.
Some people with HIV who menstruate notice lighter or heavier periods. If a person experiences sudden weight loss, they may start to miss periods.
In addition, hormonal fluctuations can cause menstrual symptoms such as cramping, breast tenderness, and fatigue to change or worsen.
It is important to note that menstrual changes are common and are not necessarily a sign of HIV. But if they have other symptoms, HIV screening may be warranted.
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While almost all people who have a vagina have yeast infections from time to time, HIV can cause these infections to occur more often.
When a person has HIV, their immune system uses a lot of energy to respond to the virus. As a result, their body is not well equipped to fight other infections.
It is important to note that even recurrent yeast infections are very common in people with vaginas. They are not a characteristic sign of HIV and are more common in diabetics. However, long-term yeast infections may require HIV testing, especially if they occur at the same time as other symptoms.
HIV-positive transgender women have many of the same symptoms as cisgender women. These include flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, rapid weight loss, skin changes and mood swings.
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Although there is some research that suggests possible interactions between antiretroviral therapy for the treatment of HIV and feminizing hormone therapy, it is recommended that transgender women continue with gender confirmation after an HIV diagnosis.
Get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine care. They advise all pregnant women to be tested for HIV.
If a person has any of the above risk factors, they should talk to their doctor about getting tested for HIV. The doctor should also advise how often the test should be done.
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