What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv/aids
Some people may develop a flu-like illness within a month after exposure to the HIV virus. But many people do not develop any symptoms at all when they first become infected. In addition, the symptoms that do appear, which usually disappear within a week to a month, are often mistaken for those of another viral infection. These may include:
Enlarged lymph nodes
Persistent or severe symptoms may not surface for 10 years or more after HIV first enters the body in adults, or within 2 years in children born with an HIV infection. This asymptomatic period of the infection is highly variable from person to person. But, during the asymptomatic period, HIV is actively infecting and killing cells of the immune system. Its most obvious effect is a decline in the blood levels of CD4+ T cells a key immune system infection fighter. The virus initially disables or destroys these cells without causing symptoms.
As the immune system deteriorates, complications begin to surface. The following are the most common complications, or symptoms, of AIDS. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Some people develop frequent and severe herpes infections that cause mouth, genital, or anal sores, or a painful nerve disease known as shingles. Children may have delayed development or failure to thrive.
What Infections Are Associated With Hiv/aids
HIV and AIDS are conditions or states, that affect people who test positive for HIV, the viral organism. Both conditions, HIV and AIDS, may enable the exact same opportunistic infections to set in, but it will be more likely that an AIDS patient will present more intense symptoms than an HIV patient. Some of the AIDS-defining infections include:
- Kaposis sarcoma
- Meningitis/encephalitis due to cryptococcal or toxoplasmosis infection
- Pulmonary, miliary or extrapulmonary tuberculosis
- Dementia for no other reason
- Cancers such as lymphoma .
When Should You Get Tested For Hiv
If you think you have been exposed to HIV, it’s important to seek medical advice and to get tested as soon as possible.
Dr Dutt stresses that the only way to find out if you have HIV is to get tested, and an early diagnosis means you can access treatment sooner. This in turn can dramatically reduce your risk of becoming severely ill and passing the virus on to others.
If you start taking post-exposure prophylaxis within 72 hours of exposure to the virus, you may be able to prevent infection altogether. PEP involves taking HIV treatment every day for one month.
There is also PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis – a daily pill that can protect you from HIV. With this medication, you can have a normal sexual relationship with an HIV-positive partner with reduced fear of becoming infected yourself.
Regardless of whether you test negative or positive, you may need to repeat the test between one and three months of being exposed to HIV, but you shouldn’t wait this long to seek treatment.
Putting off getting tested and leaving HIV untreated can cause you to develop AIDS, which may lead to death.
How do you know if you have HIV?
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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.
How Long Does Hiv Take To Show Up
It usually takes around 13 weeks for HIV to show up as the virus may take some time to spread in the body. Until specific symptoms show up and a test is conducted for HIV, it is quite difficult to detect it. The symptoms may include fever, diarrhea, muscle ache and others. The HIV can be tested wither through a urine sample or blood test. Thus exactly how long does HIV take to show up cannot be specified.
Sometimes it may depend upon the immunity level of the person. The stronger the immune system, less likely is the chances to detect HIV. Once a person gets the virus, eventually the immune system is hampered. The person becomes prone to catching diseases and may fall ill quite often and easily. But the antibodies of HIV may take some time longer in people having a weaker immunity system. How long does HIV take to show up is based on the time in which the infected persons body produces antibodies of the infection.
The time as to how long does HIV take to show up differs from person to person. For some it may show up within 3 to 6 weeks itself, while for others it may take up to 3 months for the virus to surface. It is very important in todays world to be careful since many people are infected with HIV. Sometimes it is better to go for a test if you are time and again falling ill as it may give an early answer to how long does HIV take to show up.
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A Sexually Transmitted Infection
Katie Salerno/Flickr Creative Commons
Some STIs like syphilis and herpes cause open sores that make it easier for HIV to enter the body. Others like gonorrhea and chlamydia cause inflammation in the genitals that attracts the very immune cells that HIV likes to target and infect.
Having syphilis can increase your risk of HIV by as much as 500%. Other STIs can do the same. Because of this, you should be tested for HIV if you test positive for any STI.
What Factors Affect The Progression Of Hiv Into Aids
There are a number of factors which influence the progression of HIV for every infected person. These include:
- Nature of transmission
- Incubation period of the virus in the bloodstream.
- The number of viral particles transferred from the HIV-positive person to the other.
- Any simultaneous viral or bacterial infection.
- The strain of virus being transmitted.
- Biochemical abnormalities, .
- Age .
- Heredity and genetic make-up.
- Immunosuppressive behaviour .
- Access and commitment to, and discipline over, ARVs and/or a prescribed HIV treatment plan.
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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.
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.
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How Is Hiv Transmitted Or Spread
The following are the means by which the HIV virus is spread:
Vertical transmission. HIV can be spread to babies born to, or breastfed by, mothers infected with the virus.
Sexual contact. In adults and adolescents, HIV is spread most commonly by sexual contact with an infected partner. The virus enters the body through the lining of the vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, or abraded or irritated tissues in the lining of the mouth through sexual activity.
Blood contamination. HIV may also be spread through contact with infected blood. However, due to the screening of donated blood for evidence of HIV infection, the risk of acquiring HIV from blood transfusions is extremely low.
Needles. HIV is frequently spread by sharing needles, syringes, or drug use equipment with someone who is infected with the virus. Transmission from patient to health care worker, or vice-versa, through accidental sticks with contaminated needles or other medical instruments, is rare.
No known cases of HIV/AIDS have been spread by the following:
Enlarged lymph nodes
An HIV-infected child is usually diagnosed with AIDS when the immune system becomes severely damaged or other types of infections occur. As the immune system deteriorates, complications begin to develop. The following are some common complications, or symptoms, of the onset of AIDS. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Can You Still Live A Healthy Life With Hiv
Thanks to advances in research and medicine, medication is available that allows you to manage an HIV diagnosis on a daily basis.
“Antiretroviral medicines come in the form of daily tablets that work by stopping the virus from replicating inside your body. This allows your immune system to repair itself and prevent further damage. That said, HIV can easily become resistant to a single form of medication, which is why most HIV-positive people take a combination of medications,” says Dr Dutt.
Without treatment, your immune system can become extremely damaged. This makes you more susceptible to life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer and other severe infections.
“However, someone with HIV who is taking effective treatment can definitely live a healthy life,” Dr Dutt says.
“The goal of medication is to get the level of the virus in your body so low that it’s undetectable by a test. With effective treatment, you will also significantly reduce your risk of passing HIV on to others.”
In fact, if your virus levels are undetectable on treatment, there is no risk of passing on the virus through sex – as the undetectable = untransmittable campaign has sought to highlight.
HIV is a long-term illness and it can affect your life. Dr Dutt explains how those with HIV cannot donate blood or organs, join the armed forces, or visit certain countries. You may also struggle getting life insurance to cover a mortgage loan .
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The Third Stage Of Hiv: Early Symptomatic Disease
During this, the third stage of infection, your immune system is engaged in a constant battle with the rapidly replicating virus. Approximately 50 million to 2 billion new virus particles are created each day. The immune system responds by replenishing the peripheral blood with up to 2 billion new CD4 cells per day.
The immune system can hold HIV in check for many years, but will eventually begin to lose the battle. The virus begins to destroy the CD4 cell population. As that happens, the CD4 counts continue to drop, and signs and symptoms more specific to HIV/AIDS arise.
These signs and symptoms are:
- Persistent generalised lymphadenopathy .
- Oral lesions .
- Shingles .
- Thrombocytopenia .
- Early stages of neurological disease .
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hiv And Aids
When first infected with HIV, a person may have:
- increased number of infections
- infections that are more severe than is typical
Without treatment, HIV can lead to a very weakened immune system and progress to AIDS. Illnesses that happen in AIDS are called AIDS-defining conditions.
AIDS-defining conditions include:
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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.
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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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
If you have been infected with HIV or are at risk of infection, you probably have some questions about the condition and how it can affect your baby.
You may find it helpful to jot down questions as they arisethat way, when you talk to your doctor, you can be sure that all of your concerns are addressed.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- Should I get tested for HIV?
- What can I do to prevent infection?
- Im infected. Is there any way to prevent passing it on to my baby?
- What steps can we take if my baby does get infected?
- Whats the long-term outlook for a baby with HIV?
How Long Does It Take For Hiv Symptoms To Develop
It may be many months or years until they take an HIV test and get their diagnosis. But when people do notice symptoms, they usually develop within one to four weeks after acquiring HIV and last for two to four weeks. These symptoms are associated with the immune systems natural defense against HIV.
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Stage : Acute Hiv Infection
Within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV, about two-thirds of people will have a flu-like illness. This is the bodys natural response to HIV infection.
Flu-like symptoms can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But some people do not have any symptoms at all during this early stage of HIV.
Dont assume you have HIV just because you have any of these symptomsthey can be similar to those caused by other illnesses. But if you think you may have been exposed to HIV, get an HIV test.
Heres what to do:
What Are The 3 Stages Of Hiv When Does Hiv Infection Transition To Aids
There are 3 stages of HIV infection.
- Stage 1: Flu-like symptoms after initial HIV infection
- Stage 2: Clinically latency may last for 10 or more years in some individuals
- Stage 3: After HIV reactivation and/or HIVs progressive attack on the immune system, the damaged immune system has a reduced or an inability to protect the individual from serious infections and other illnesses. This stage is termed AIDS. In this stage, lab testing reveals high viral loads and CD4 counts < 200 cells/mm3.
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When To Get Tested For Hiv After Exposure
Frequently Asked Questions. One recommended strategy is to get tested 2-4 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after a risky exposure. Using a sensitive antigen/antibody HIV test, of those who are infected, most will test positive at 1 month almost all will test positive at 3 months and the rest will test positive at 6 months.