Stage : Symptomatic Hiv Infection/aids
It takes about 10 years of going untreated for HIV to develop into what is known as HIV/AIDS. At this point, symptoms of ongoing destruction of the immune system may develop, such as recurring fever, persistent and extreme fatigue, chronic diarrhea, and neurological disorders such as depression and memory loss.
Other distinctive symptoms that may occur at this time include:
People with HIV/AIDs also may develop diseases such as shingles pneumonia, and many others.
A Sexually Transmitted Infection
Katie Salerno/Flickr Creative Commons
Contracting other sexually transmitted diseases can significantly increase the risk of getting HIV. For instance, some STDs like syphilis and herpes cause skin lesions that make it easier for HIV to enter the body.
STDs may also cause inflammation, which is something that is triggered by the body’s immune system. HIV preferentially infects defensive white blood cells, so when there are more of them around, it’s easier to contract HIV.
Having an STD like gonorrhea or syphilis means that you’ve engaged in unprotected sex, a key risk factor for HIV. So if you have been diagnosed with an STD, talk to your healthcare provider about how you can reduce your HIV risk.
Recognizing The Symptoms Of An Hiv Rash
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Symptoms And Stages Of Hiv Infection
- There are three stages of HIV infection. The symptoms vary in type and severity from person-to-person.
- Stage 1 after initial infection can feel like flu but not everyone will experience this.
- Stage 2 is when many people start to feel better and may last for 10 years or more. During this time a person may have no symptoms.
- Stage 3 is when a persons immune system is very badly damaged and can no longer fight off serious infections and illnesses.
- The earlier a person is diagnosed with HIV and starts treatment, the better their health will be over time.
- Some people dont get any symptoms during stages 1 and 2, and may not know they have the virus, but they can still pass on HIV.
The signs of HIV infection can vary in type and severity from person-to-person, and some people may not have any symptoms for many years.
The stages below describe how HIV infection progresses in the body if it is left untreated. Without antiretroviral treatment for HIV, the virus replicates in the body and causes more and more damage to the immune system.
However with effective treatment, you can keep the virus under control and stop it from progressing. This is why its important to start treatment as soon as possible after testing positive.
What Is Hiv Ars
When people talk about HIV symptoms they are generally referring to the symptoms that appear soon after a person is infected with HIV .
These symptoms are a result of the body mounting an immune response to the HIV infection, NOT due to the infection itself. That is why you find similar or identical symptoms with other infections.
It is also commonly known as Acute-Retroviral Syndrome , acute primary HIV illness, acute HIV syndrome and Acute Sero-Conversion Syndrome.
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Other Early Symptoms Of Hiv Infection
Early symptoms of HIV can start as early as one week following the infection, but generally manifest 3-6 weeks later. They define what is called as Acute HIV Infection or Acute Retroviral Syndrome and last an average of 2-3 weeks. They are often called flu-like symptoms or mononucleosis-like symptoms due to their similar manifestation with such conditions and are caused by the high viral load, also known as viremia, which defines the number of viral particles in a set volume of blood that steeply increases in the first few weeks following the infection to then get lower thanks to the immune system starting to fight it back.
Besides the skin rash, other common early symptoms of HIV include:
- Night sweats
- Mouth sores
- Abnormal blood tests such as low white blood cell count, low platelet count and elevated liver enzymes
The first symptoms are of critical importance for an early diagnosis which will lower the risk of spreading the infection to other people and allow for early treatment with an improved outcome and less risks. Unfortunately, by being non-specific and resembling other common illnesses this opportunity is often missed and sometimes even when the doctor suspects an HIV infection the test in the early stages can result in a false-negative. This is because the blood test generally detects the antibodies that the immune system produces to fight the infection and sometimes this process takes up to 2-4 months.
Stage : Primary Infection
This is the period when the virus first enters the body and the immune system begins to react. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services , 40% to 90% of people will experience flu-like symptoms within two to four weeks of being infected with the human immunodeficiency virus as the body fights to control the infection.
Symptoms of acute HIV infection include:
- Mouth ulcers
Collectively, these symptoms are referred to as acute retroviral syndrome or, less often, acute seroconversion syndrome or seroconversion illness.
Some people with ARS also will experience nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting, and one in five will develop an “HIV rash,” a maculopapular skin condition characterized by raised, pink/red areas covered with small, pimple-like bumps that often merge together into one. HIV rash usually affects the upper body and sometimes is accompanied by ulcers on the mucous membranes of the mouth or genitals. Outbreaks usually resolve within one to two weeks.
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Does Rash Occur In Any Other Stage Of Hiv
Yes. HIV infection can be broadly divided into three stages. The first stage is Acute HIV infection. During this phase, the body is trying to fight the virus out. Antibodies to HIV are produced inside the body .
The second stage is a latent phase where many symptoms will not be shown by the patient as the multiplication of HIV has been slowed down by the bodys immunity . In the third stage, the bodys immunity has been destroyed and the virus is creating havoc.
This results in opportunistic infections in the person which may present as rashes .
The Immune System And Hiv
When people first get HIV, they may experience flu-like symptoms as part of something called a seroconversion illness. This illness may include a non-itchy, red rash lasting 2 to 3 weeks. During ongoing infection, the immune system becomes damaged and this may lead to red and itchy skin. This may be treated with steroid creams or antihistamines. Skin problems may also occur when the immune system starts to recover due to HIV treatment . It may be a sign of improving health of the immune system, as it responds to the anti-HIV drugs.
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What Are The Early Symptoms Of Hiv Infection
Because the whole body is reacting to fight off the virus, it is not surprising to find a variety symptoms affecting all bodily systems.
General Fever, Sweats, Lethargy, Malaise, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss
Skin Rash, ulcers , Sore throat
Digestive Nausea, Diarrhea, Loss of Appetite
Musculo-Skeletal Muscle aches, Joint aches
Not everyone will develop all these symptoms. These symptoms can develop in varying combinations. The most common symptoms are fever, sore throat, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
What Are Some Common Types Of Skin Rash
Before we discuss HIV-related rashes, itâs important to note that skin rashes can occur for many possible reasons. They may develop due to a viral infection , allergens, immune system disorders, certain medications, and more.
The most common type of skin rash is atopic dermatitis. This is an ongoing chronic condition that causes areas of the skin to be red and itchy. Typically, this happens in patches on the neck, hands, feet, ankles, upper body, and limbs. Itâs common for atopic dermatitis to flare up before mellowing out for a while, and it can usually be reduced by avoiding irritants and applying soothing creams and lotions.
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Stage : Acute Primary Infection
The early symptoms of HIV can feel like having the flu. Around one to four weeks after getting HIV, you may start to experience these flu-like symptoms. These normally dont last long . You may only get some of the symptoms and some people dont have any symptoms at all.
Symptoms can include:
- joint aches and pains
- muscle pain.
These symptoms happen because your body is reacting to the HIV virus. Cells that are infected with HIV are circulating throughout your blood system. In response, your immune system tries to attack the virus by producing HIV antibodies this process is called seroconversion. Timing varies but once you have HIV it can take your body up to a few months to go through the seroconversion process.
Having these symptoms alone does not mean you definitely have HIV. The only way to know if you have HIV is by taking a test. You should always visit your healthcare professional if youre worried about or think youve been at risk of getting HIV, even if you feel well and dont have any symptoms. They can then arrange for you to get tested.
HIV will not always show up in a test at this early stage, and you may need to test again later to confirm your result . Your healthcare professional will talk to you about the timing of your test and answer any concerns. Its important not delay speaking to a healthcare worker if you are worried about HIV.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv/aids
The first signs of HIV infection may be flu-like symptoms:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
These symptoms may come and go within two to four weeks. This stage is called acute HIV infection.
If the infection is not treated, it becomes chronic HIV infection. Often, there are no symptoms during this stage. If it is not treated, eventually the virus will weaken your body’s immune system. Then the infection will progress to AIDS. This is the late stage of HIV infection. With AIDS, your immune system is badly damaged. You can get more and more severe infections. These are known as opportunistic infections .
Some people may not feel sick during the earlier stages of HIV infection. So the only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested.
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A Timeline Of Hiv Symptoms
What is HIV?
HIV is a virus that compromises the immune system. Theres currently no cure for it, but there are treatments available to reduce its effects on peoples lives.
In the majority of cases, once HIV infection takes hold, the virus stays in the body for life. However, unlike what may occur with infections by other types of viruses, HIV symptoms dont suddenly appear and peak overnight.
If left untreated, the disease progresses over time through three stages, each with its own set of possible symptoms and complications some severe.
Regular antiretroviral treatment can reduce HIV to undetectable levels in the blood. At undetectable levels, the virus wont progress to the later stages of HIV infection. In addition, the virus cant be transmitted to a partner during sex.
Early Stage Or Acute Hiv Rash
Early stage skin rash in HIV patients is also known as seroconversion rash and is one of the many possible symptoms caused by the acute retroviral syndrome developed following the infection. The rash typically consists of flat red spots and small red bumps on the chest, back or the face. It can manifest in other areas of the body too and can be itchy pimple-like manifestations have also been reported. Skin rashes are a very common skin manifestation of many different conditions, from allergies, to drug reactions, sun burns, skin infections, viral systemic infection and many more. For a proper evaluation you should refer to your physician or dermatologist.
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What Does An Hiv Rash Look Like
Usually HIV infection leads to a brief period of symptoms shortly after infection occurs. Not everybody notices these symptoms, and theyre easy to mistake for a cold or the flu. One of the symptoms may be a rash.
The most common HIV rash occurs shortly after infection. It is an itchy rash that usually appears on the abdomen, face, arms, or legs and features a flat, red area covered in small red bumps.
The Most Common Symptoms Of Seroconversion Are:
- sore throat
- rash over the body.
Seroconversion is a sign that the immune system is reacting to the presence of the virus in the body. Its also the point at which the body produces antibodies to HIV. Once seroconversion has happened, an HIV test will detect antibodies and give a positive result.
Seroconversion illness happens to most people shortly after infection. It can be severe enough to put someone in hospital or so mild that its mistaken for something like flu although a blocked or runny nose is not usually a symptom.
If you do have HIV, your body fluids are highly infectious during the early weeks and months after transmission. However, once youre on effective treatment and your viral load becomes undetectable you cannot pass on HIV.
It can take up to six months from starting treatment to become undetectable.
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How Is Hiv Diagnosed
Diagnosis of HIV infection during infancy depends on the detection of the virus. Since all infants born to HIV-infected mothers have a positive antibody test at birth because of the passive transfer of the HIV antibody across the placenta, virological testing is used to confirm the diagnosis.
For infants born to HIV-infected mothers, viral diagnostic testing is usually performed within the first 2 days of life, at 1 to 2 months of age, and at 4 to 6 months of age. A diagnosis of HIV infection can be made with two positive virologic tests obtained from different blood samples.
For children over 18 months, adolescents, or adults, diagnosis is made by testing the blood for the presence of HIV antibody.
Treating Skin Fungal Rash That Comes And Goes:
Topical treatments, which are applied directly to the affected areas of the skin, are the most common treatments for skin fungal rash that comes and goes. These treatments could be in forms including creams, shampoos, paints, lotions and medicated powder. Sometimes, if you stop applying fungal treatments, your rashes might reappear after cleaning. So, you need to continue applying the treatment, at least for about 2 weeks after the symptoms get disappear.
Maintaining proper hygiene is the easiest way to treat and prevent some fungal infections. Keep the affected areas of the skin, clean and dry.
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To 28 Days After Exposure
The exception: a symptom called lymphadenopathy, the sometimes painful swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, behind the ears, under the armpits, or in the upper groin region. Even when the other symptoms have disappeared, lymphadenopathy may continue for months or even longer.
“The important thing to remember is that the resolution of symptoms does not mean the infection is gone,” says Dennis Sifris, MD, an HIV specialist with the Lifesense Disease Management Group, located in South Africa. “HIV is not like hepatitis, which can spontaneously clear. HIV is forever and is better treated sooner rather than later.”
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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What This Rash Looks Like
A maculopapular rash is usually a large area that is red and has small, confluent bumps. The sandpapery rash of scarlet fever, or scarletina, is the classic example of a maculopapular rash.
These rashes are described by the Greek word exanthem, which means “a skin eruption that bursts forth or blooms.” The rashes do not necessarily itch, but should they, physicians may prescribe creams to patients to mute the itching sensation.
This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.
DermNet / CC BY-NC-ND