Can You Have Hiv For 11 Years And Not Know
A person with HIV may experience mild symptoms, such as swollen glands, in the first few years after infection. People who are not aware they are HIV-positive may not realize they are infected because the symptoms of HIV can be mild at first. HIV can be spread without even knowing it is present in them.
How Is Hiv Transmitted
While we do have a detailed article on the methods of HIV transmission, we feel its important to include a summary here too. This is because HIV can be spread from one person to another while still in its first stage of acute infection. In South Africa, HIV is mainly spread through sexual activity and the sharing of needles.
Previously, mother-to-child transmission was a major challenge, but our Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission programme has been so effective, that this is no longer the mammoth concern that it once was.
Symptoms Of Acute Hiv Infection
Many people develop symptoms of acute HIV infection two to four weeks after contracting HIV. Symptoms can last for several weeks and are similar to other viral infections such as flu. Signs and symptoms can include the following, starting with the most common:
- Sore throat
Some HIV-infected people do not have any symptoms, or may have symptoms that are mild and not particularly troublesome.
All these symptoms can also be caused by other illnesses. If a person has symptoms following potential exposure to HIV, they should be tested for HIV as soon as possible. People concerned that they may be experiencing symptoms of acute HIV can also use the free Ada app to carry out a symptom assessment.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Aids
Having an infection with the HIV virus does not automatically mean that the patient has AIDS. As the HIV virus infects more and more CD4 cells and makes more copies of itself, the patients immune system gets overwhelmed and begins to falter. When the immune system breaks down due to HIV infection, opportunistic infections like fungal infections, pneumonias, and cancers can occur. When this level of HIV infection occurs, it is called AIDS .
Some of the signs and symptoms of progression of HIV to AIDS are:
Hiv: A Brief Overview
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a sexually transmitted virus that spreads through exposure to certain body fluidsâlike genital secretions or blood. HIV transmission can also occur from a mother to a child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
HIV attacks and impairs the bodyâs immune cells, which weakens the immune system and can eventually progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome if it isnât treated. AIDS can be a life-threatening condition, particularly if HIV treatment is not initiated promptly, which is why HIV testing is crucial for protecting your health.
Learn more: What is the difference between HIV and AIDs?
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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, and it would be best to seek the advice of a doctor to help determine its cause.
What Are The Symptoms Of Later Hiv
As HIV weakens someones immune system, they may experience signs of other illnesses:
- weight loss
- an increase in herpes or cold sore outbreaks
- swollen glands in the groin, neck or armpit
- long-lasting diarrhoea
But remember: people who dont have HIV can also get any of these they can be the signs of other illnesses.
A weakened immune system may leave someone more open to serious infections such as:
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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.
Symptom : Swollen Lymph Nodes Achy Muscles And Joint Pain
Lymph nodes are part of your bodys immune system and protect your blood by getting rid of bacteria and viruses. They tend to get inflamed when theres an infection. Many of them are located in your armpit, groin and neck which can result in aches and pains in these areas.
Given these symptoms are common across many viral infections, they alone are not a reliable way to determine if the infection you are experiencing is HIV.
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Prevention Of Acute Hiv Infection
There are ways to minimize the risk of contracting HIV, or passing the infection on to other people:
- Practice safe sex: use condoms during all types of sexual contact and limit the number of partners
- Practice safe needle use: use only sterile needles and equipment if injecting substances. Safe needle use should also be observed by healthcare workers and tattooists
- Get diagnosed early, which can inform choices such as treatment and behavior toward other people
Anyone who is sexually active is recommended to get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases at least once a year. Any positive results should be disclosed to sexual partners so precautions can be taken. More frequent testing is recommended for anyone in a high risk group, such as someone who:
- Is in a relationship with a person who is HIV-positive
- Has multiple sexual partners
How Soon After Hiv Infection Do Symptoms Appear
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How Soon Do Std Symptoms Appear
When it comes to STD symptoms appearing, each STD has its own incubation period. Check out this STD incubation period chart for a full breakdown.
Incubation period for each STD
5 to 28 days
It can be vexing to wait around wondering if youve contracted an STD during a sexual encounter. However, by researching your next steps and getting informed about incubation periods and testing windows, youre already well on your way to getting the care you need. Always contact a physician if you have questions or need care.
Michael is an experienced healthcare marketer and father of two. He has worked alongside healthcare leader at Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, St. Luke’s, Baylor Scott and White, HCA, and many more, and currently leads growth marketing at Solv.
Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
- Time Periods of Interest. HIV, STDs, Viral Hepatitis
Symptoms Of The Early Stages Of Hiv
Symptoms of HIV can vary between individuals however the first signs of infection generally appear within the first 1-2 months. Many, but not all, people will experience severe flu-like symptoms which is your bodys natural response to the virus. This is called the seroconversion period.
Its during this time that its crucial to identify if HIV is the cause, as your viral load is very high which greatly increases the risk of passing it on. And the only way to know for sure is by getting tested.
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Can You Test Negative For Hiv And Still Have It
HIV can still be detected in a negative result, even if you dont have the virus. There is a window during which this occurs. In this case, the HIV test results will be negative if you test again after the window period, have no exposure to HIV during the window period, and the test results come back negative.
The Second Stage Of Hiv: The Asymptomatic Silent Phase
Following infection, there is a period of intense, unchecked viral replication. This happens 2 to 4 weeks after infection, and the replication activity lasts 1 to 2 weeks. Its after this process that the infected person recovers and is henceforth referred to as seropositive for HIV antibodies.
Though HIV replication is massive, most patients only experience moderate flu-like symptoms at this stage. Typically, the illness is sudden in onset and is characterised by fever, swelling of the lymph glands, a measles-like rash all over the body, ulcers in the mouth and sometimes on the genitalia.
Disease of the gastrointestinal tract is often involved, manifesting as nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Infected persons may also present inflammation of the pharynx and dysphasia, meningitis or encephalitis.
This acute HIV syndrome does not occur in all individuals infected with the virus, and many individuals who are HIV-positive, do not recall ever having experienced the illness. It has been estimated that approximately 5070% of individuals who are HIV-positive experience acute HIV illness. This syndrome is rarely seen in children.
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What Are The Signs Of An Hiv Infection
Fever is usually the first sign of an HIV infection. Many people also experience other flu-like symptoms as the disease manifests itself two to four weeks after exposure. This early, acute phase of HIV can last up to several weeks. Some of the other possible signs of the infection include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
Knowing you have HIV is almost impossible without a test. Thats because the disease can masquerade as other illnesses and sometimes may not have symptoms at all at first. At least 13% of people with HIV dont even know they have the virus. This makes it much more likely that they will spread the disease to others. If youve had unprotected sex recently, the only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.
What Is Acute Hiv Infection
There are three stages of HIV infection:
- Stage 1:Acute HIVinfection
- Stage 2:Chronic HIV infection
- Stage 3:AIDS
Acute HIV infection is the first stage of the infection. Usually within two to four weeks of infection, two-thirds of those with HIV will experience flu-like symptoms. These symptoms may last for several days or even weeks. However, some people may experience no symptoms at all.
In this stage, there is a large amount of HIV in your blood, which is known as the viral load. Studies have noted incredibly high viral loads during the acute stage, meaning you are more contagious at this time.
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When To Seek Medical Care
Early diagnosis is key. If you think youve been exposed to HIV or have an encounter that put you at risk for HIV, you should seek medical care right away with a primary care doctor, urgent or walk-in clinic, or, if those are not available to you, a local emergency room.
Doctors can give you a medication called post-exposure prophylaxis after exposure to reduce your chances of developing HIV. But this medication needs to be taken within 72 hours of exposure. Ideally, youd start taking it within the first 24 hours.
If you think you were exposed to HIV in the past for example, if a former sexual partner tells you they have HIV its critical to seek medical care as soon as possible. The sooner you find out you have HIV, the sooner you can start treatment.
How Can You Tell If You Have Hiv
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. You cant rely on symptoms to tell whether you have HIV.
Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information so you can take steps to keep yourself and your partner healthy:
- If you test positive, you can take medicine to treat HIV. By taking HIV medicine daily as prescribed, you can make the amount of HIV in your blood very lowso low that a test cant detect it . Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best thing you can do to stay healthy. If your viral load stays undetectable, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
- If you test negative, there are more HIV prevention tools available today than ever before.
- If you are pregnant, you should be tested for HIV so that you can begin treatment if you’re HIV-positive. If an HIV-positive woman is treated for HIV early in her pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be very low.
Use the HIV Services Locator to find an HIV testing site near you.
HIV self-testing is also an option. Self-testing allows people to take an HIV test and find out their result in their own home or other private location. You can buy a self-test kit at a pharmacy or online, or your health care provider may be able to order one for you. Some health departments or community-based organizations also provide self-test kits for free.
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What Is The Treatment For Hiv
Individuals who are HIV positive will likely need to see a specialist. As with many other conditions, early detection offers more options for treatment. Today, there are medical treatments that can slow down the rate at which HIV weakens the immune system. However, there are other treatments that can prevent or cure the conditions associated with HIV. Anti-retroviral drug therapy may be given to a pregnant woman, which has proven to greatly reduce the chance of an infant developing HIV. A cesarean section may be recommended to reduce infant transmission from the birth canal. In the U.S., where other feeding options are available, an infected mother should be discouraged from breastfeeding her infant. Consult your child’s doctor for more information regarding various drug therapies.
What Is An Hiv Test
A confidential HIV test can be performed by your doctor. There are three types of tests that look at your bodily fluids to check for signs of HIV: nucleic acid tests , antigen/antibody tests, and antibody tests.
- NAT tests require drawing your blood to look for both the presence of HIV and how much of the virus is present, known as your viral load. The benefit of a NAT test is that it can detect HIV earlier than other types of tests. The downside is that these tests are very expensive. Typically, we use this test if youre exhibiting HIV infection symptoms or if youve had a high risk of exposure to the virus.
- Antigen/Antibody tests also draw blood, although there is a rapid test that requires a finger stick. This type of testing searches for antibodies that are produced in the blood by your immune system to fight the HIV invading cells. If HIV is in your body, you will produce an antigen called p24. The test looks for p24 as well as the antibodies that signal your body is fighting the infection.
- HIV Antibody tests just look for antibodies to HIV in your blood or oral fluids. These tests also require blood to be drawn from a vein.
The time for receiving test results spans several days to less than a few hours. Talk with your doctor about what type of test is right for you.
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When Should I Get Tested For Stds
To help stay as safe as possible, the CDC recommends that you get tested for STDs after having an unprotected sexual encounter with a person outside of a monogamous sexual relationship. However, beyond this general principle, there are specific windows of time during which you should get tested for each STD. Its important to be aware of these time windows because if you get tested before the window begins, you could have a false negative STD test, according to the CDC. This means that you could get a negative result when you actually do have the STI. It can be agonizing to waitbut its definitely worth it to get tested during the appropriate time window. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you should refrain from any sexual activity until you are sure you do not have an STI.
Early Symptoms In Primary Hiv
The first noticeable stage is primary HIV infection. This stage is also called acute retroviral syndrome , or acute HIV infection. Because HIV infection at this stage usually causes flu-like symptoms, its possible for someone in this stage to think their symptoms are due to a severe flu rather than HIV. Fever is the most common symptom.
Other symptoms include:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , primary HIV symptoms may show up two to four weeks after initial exposure. Symptoms can continue for up to several weeks. However, some people may exhibit the symptoms only for a few days.
People with early HIV sometimes dont show any symptoms, yet they can still transmit the virus to others. This is attributed to the fast, unrestrained viral replication that occurs in the early weeks after contracting the virus.
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