Days To 20 Years After Exposure
The chronic stage of infection occurs once the immune system brings the virus under control. During this phase, HIV will go into hiding, where it resides in various cells and tissues throughout the body in a dormant state known as latency. HIV latency can persist without symptoms for 10 years or more, although some people may experience signs within a year or two.
During the early chronic phase, lymphadenopathy may be the only notable sign of an HIV infection. In some cases, the glands may be visibly enlarged and reach up to an inch or more in size. If the condition persists for more than three months, its referred to as persistent generalized lymphadenopathy .
Even during latency, the virus will multiple imperceptibly and gradually deplete immune cells known as CD4 T-cells. As immune deficiency develops, a number of nonspecific symptoms are likely to appear, including:
- Oral candidiasis , a fungal infection that causes the formation of creamy, white lesions on the sides of the tongue and lining of the mouth
- Unexplained fevers and drenching night sweats that soak through bedsheets and nightclothes
- Severe, uncontrolled diarrhea that lasts for more than three days
Each of these symptoms is commonly seen in persons with immune deficiency. They may, in some cases, be caused by HIV itself or by an infection that has yet to be diagnosed.
How Antiretroviral Drugs Affect The Body
While there is no cure for HIV, antiretroviral therapy can reduce the amount of the virus in the blood to very low levels. By doing this, it keeps the person healthy and prevents the transmission of the virus to other people.
A very low, or undetectable, viral load means that the risk of transmission to others is virtually zero, which has led to the phrase: undetectable = untransmittable .
Experts encourage all people with HIV, regardless of their CD4 T-cell count, to start taking antiretroviral drugs as soon as possible after their diagnosis. Early treatment is key to a good outcome.
As with other medications, antiretroviral drugs can cause side effects in some people. However, modern drugs tend to produce fewer and less severe side effects than older drugs.
Possible side effects of antiretroviral drugs include:
Some side effects may last for a few days or weeks after the person starts treatment. Others may start later or last longer.
If a person experiences severe side effects that make them consider stopping treatment, they can talk to their healthcare provider. Stopping treatment or skipping doses can lead to drug resistance and limit a persons treatment options.
Some people can reduce some side effects by taking the medication 2 hours before going to bed. Other people may prefer to take it in the morning to prevent sleep disturbances.
Certain HIV drugs may also lead to less obvious changes, such as:
You’re Always Waking Up With Night Sweats
Getting damp on a muggy night without air conditioning is definitely not the same as night sweats, which result in puddles of sweat thatll make you want to change your sheets. The body is trying to release off toxins, says Horberg.
Although HIV can cause night sweats, plenty of other potential culprits do as well, including menopause, mononucleosis, and cancers like lymphoma and leukemia, says Horberg. So if youre soaking your sheets over the course of a few nights, definitely check in with your doctor.
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Mental Health Effects Of Hiv
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, people with HIV experience higher rates of mental health conditions than the general population. It is essential that people with HIV look after their mental health and a range of treatments is available.
Anyone experiencing the following symptoms may benefit from seeking help for their mental health:
- high stress or anxiety levels
- a feeling of emptiness or sadness
- finding less enjoyment in things they used to enjoy
- thoughts of suicide
The following treatments can help improve a persons mental health:
- speaking to a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or another therapist
- developing a strong social support network
- joining support groups of people with similar issues
- trying meditation
- maintaining or increasing healthful habits, such as eating well and moderate exercise
- taking medications
What Should I Do If I Think I Could Have Hiv
Only an HIV test can tell you whether you have HIV.
Try not to guess based on any symptoms you may or may not have, or on the HIV status of a person you have had sex with.
If you test, tell whoever tests you if youve recently taken risks or had symptoms similar to seroconversion illness, as this will affect the kind of HIV test you should have.
To be on the safe side, and until you know your test result, use condoms to protect anyone you have sex with.
You can also call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221.
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The Reaction To Disclosure
People may have a variety of reactions when learning that someone they care about and are interested in sexually has HIV. They may be worried about your health or their own. They may be scared or angry. They may not know what they think.
Having reputable information about HIV available can help. A lot of people dont know what they dont know about the virus. They may be more concerned than they need to be, or less.
Although it can be difficult, sometimes a potential partner will need time to process the information about your HIV status. It may help to remember how long it took you to come to terms with your diagnosis and understand it when it is difficult to give them that space.
If you have any concerns about your safety when disclosing your HIV status to a potential partner, think carefully about whether that is someone with whom you really want to be sexually intimate.
If you dont know how they might respond, consider disclosing via phone or email, or in a public place, like a park, where the presence of onlookers may help people restrain a violent response.
Stage : Clinical Latency
In this stage, the virus still multiplies, but at very low levels. People in this stage may not feel sick or have any symptoms. This stage is also called chronic HIV infection.
Without HIV treatment, people can stay in this stage for 10 or 15 years, but some move through this stage faster.
If you take HIV medicine every day, exactly as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can protect your health and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to your sexual partner.
But if your viral load is detectable, you can transmit HIV during this stage, even when you have no symptoms. Its important to see your health care provider regularly to get your viral load checked.
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What To Do About Fatigue
Its important to listen to your body, recognize when youre feeling a little run down, and know what you can do to get your energy back.
Lets go through each of the causes we mentioned above and talk about solutions:
- Deal with your emotional symptoms. Anxiety and depression are natural reactions to stressful situations, such as being diagnosed with HIV. They can be treated with therapy and medications. Dont let people tell you its all in your head, these things are real and can cause physical symptoms as well! Talk to a health professional and look into meditation, yoga, and other natural ways to improve your mood.
- Dont party so hard. Having fun is good for your emotions but try not to lean on alcohol and recreational drugs when youre partying. Your Saturday nights dont have to ruin your Sundays.
- Get serious about diet and exercise. These two go together. Using better fuel and staying active are important for your health. Going on walks and working your way into an exercise rhythm will improve your mood, keep your heart healthy, and help you beat fatigue. The more you sit around, the more tired you will feel.
- Talk to your doctor about side effects. Its important to consider side effects when talking to your doctor about starting any medication.
- Get tested for anemia. Common tests can measure your red blood cell count to see if youre anemic. You may be able to change your diet or do other things to treat anemia.
What Are The Treatments For Hiv/aids
There is no cure for HIV infection, but it can be treated with medicines. This is called antiretroviral therapy . ART can make HIV infection a manageable chronic condition. It also reduces the risk of spreading the virus to others.
Most people with HIV live long and healthy lives if they get and stay on ART. It’s also important to take care of yourself. Making sure that you have the support you need, living a healthy lifestyle, and getting regular medical care can help you enjoy a better quality of life.
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Early Infection And The Gut
The course of HIV infection follows a largely characteristicpattern in most people. During the first few weeks acute infection theimmune system has not yet learned to respond to the new intruder. HIV levelsare high throughout the body, and the number of CD4 cells in the blood plasmasharply drops.
Evidence now suggests that, by only looking at CD4cells in the blood, we may have underestimated the overall extent of this earlydrop. Only a small fraction of the body’s CD4 cells are actually found incirculating blood. Most live in lymph nodes , in thegut-associated lymphoid tissue , where they are present as patches ofimmune cells lining the length of the gut, and in the mucous membranes liningother organs exposed to foreign substances, such as the lungs and the genitals.Researchers have observed a massive loss of CD4 memory cells in this gut tissue very early after infection.1
Danny Douek, a researcher at the US National Instituteof Allergy and Infectious Diseases , has studied the process closely:”Once we thought that CD4 cells were lost slowly but surely over thecourse of the disease. But we are now seeing that most of the memory T-cellpool – which is most of the CD4 cell pool in an adult person – is lostextremely rapidly.” Roughly 60% of memory cells may become infected, andthe majority of those may disappear within the first two weeks of infection.
Symptoms Specific To Men
It’s important to note that these male-specific symptoms can also be signs of other conditions. If you have any of these, make sure to speak with your doctor.
- Breast tissue growth
Pain or burning while peeing. In most cases, this is a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection like gonorrhea or chlamydia. It may signal swelling of the prostate, a small gland beneath the bladder. This condition is called prostatitis. Itâs sometimes caused by a bacterial infection.
Other symptoms of prostatitis include:
- Pain during ejaculation
- Peeing more often than usual
- Cloudy or bloody pee
- Pain in the bladder, testicles, penis, or the area between the scrotum and rectum
- Lower back, abdomen, or groin pain
If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, see a doctor right away. If itâs been 72 hours or less, you can take something called post-exposure prophylaxis . You take HIV medicine once or twice a day for 28 days that may keep you from getting HIV.
If you have been exposed to HIV, there are other symptoms that aren’t exclusive to men but are important to keep an eye on.
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Stage : The Asymptomatic Stage
Once a person has been through the acute primary infection stage and seroconversion process, they can often start to feel better. In fact, HIV may not cause any other symptoms for up to 10 or even 15 years .
However, the virus will still be active, infecting new cells and making copies of itself. HIV can still be passed on during this stage. If left untreated, over time, HIV infection will cause severe damage to the immune system.
Your Throat Is So Sore
An inflammatory response to a serious viral infection can also cause your throat to become inflamed, making it hard to swallow. But unlike strep, your doctor wont spot patches of white, just redness and inflammation like youd get with a cold.
Lots of viruses affect your throat,” says Horberg but if you’re concerned about HIV, it’s best to see a doctor about this one.
The Mystery Of Hiv Viral Load Blips
Even if you achieve a fully suppressed viral load and stay undetectable for months or years, it is possible that you will experience a small, temporary rebound to a viral load that’s detectable but still very low . This is called a viral load blip.
There can be a variety of reasons for a blip , not all of which we completely understand. However, its important to know that a blip does not in any way mean your treatment regimen has failed or that youre suddenly facing a health emergency.
Repeat testing will tell the story. If future tests show a three-fold increase or more in the amount of virus, then you and your provider may want to talk about your adherence to meds, additional monitoring tests and, perhaps, switching to a different regimen.
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.
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Scheduling An Appointment With Your Doctor
If you think that you are exhibiting any of these seven early symptoms of HIV infection, schedule an appointment at one of our ARcare clinics here in Arkansas. Find the nearest clinic to you, and give us a call. Your doctor will assess your symptoms, perform an examination, and order diagnostic tests to accurately diagnose your condition. If you are diagnosed with HIV, you can continue receiving care at your ARcare HIV treatment center to manage your condition.
Im Worried About Getting Hiv
Youve probably heard a lot about how the virus is transmitted. However, there are only a few ways you can get HIV.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about how HIV is passed on, which can get in the way of the facts and confuse people.
Instead of worrying about HIV, learn how its transmitted and what you can do to protect yourself.
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Low Levels Of Vitamins And Minerals
Fatigue may be caused by low levels of certain vitamins and minerals. A nourishing, balanced diet may reduce fatigue. So it’s a good idea to consult an HIV dietitian about minimising fatigue through dietary changes and supplements.
Anaemia can cause fatigue. Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type, but it can also be caused by a lack of vitamin B12 or folate . Your doctor can check for anaemia with a blood test.
Even if you are eating well, you may not be absorbing the goodness from the food you eat due to diarrhoea, stomach bugs or opportunistic infections. Your doctor can investigate and treat the cause of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
To 14 Days After Exposure
Known as acute retroviral syndrome, or ARS, the acute stage occurs immediately after being infected, when the immune system has yet to control the virus. During this time, an estimated 40 percent to 90 percent of people will experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, whereas the rest wont experience any symptoms at all.
Although these signs typically appear within 7 to 14 days of exposure, they can also crop up as early as 3 days. Around 30 percent of people with ARS will develop a maculopapular rash of pink to red bumps, usually on the upper half of the body. The rash will gradually converge into larger, raised hives.
Other common ARS symptoms include:
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Symptom : Night Sweats
Many people will get night sweats during the early stages of HIV. These can be even more common later in infection and arent related to exercise or the temperature of the room.
With such a vast array of symptoms, HIV testing is vital to ensure a proper diagnosis. If you think youve been exposed to HIV, or have an active sex life with casual sex partners, regardless of whether you are showing symptoms of HIV or not, its important to get tested as soon as possible.
Hiv Symptoms Every Woman Needs To Know
Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, attacks the bodys infection-fighting immune system. Without treatment, HIV can lead to AIDS . At the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, people who were infected with HIV quickly progressed to serious disease. But todays treatments help lower the amount of virus in the bloodso people who are HIV-positive can live healthier, longer lives and not necessarily progress to AIDS.
More than one million people in the US live with HIV, and scarily, one in seven of them dont know they have it. HIV symptoms can be hard to detect. Within a month or two of HIV entering the body, 40% to 90% of people experience flu-like symptoms known as acute retroviral syndrome . But sometimes HIV symptoms don’t appear for yearsor even a decadeafter infection.
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“In the early stages of HIV infection, the most common symptoms are none,” Michael Horberg, MD, director of HIV/AIDS for Kaiser Permanente, in Oakland, California, tells Health. As many as one in five people in the United States with HIV doesn’t know they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control . That’s why it’s so important to get tested, especially if you currently have or have had unprotected sex with more than one partner or use intravenous drugs.
HIV symptoms for women and for men are often the same here are 16 of the most common signs.
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