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.
Talk With Your Hiv Health Care Provider
Talk with your health care provider about the benefits of HIV treatment and which HIV medication is right for you. Discuss how frequently you should get your viral load tested to make sure it remains undetectable.
If your lab results show that the virus is detectable or if you are having trouble taking every dose of your medication, you can still protect your HIV-negative partner by using other methods of preventing sexual transmission of HIV such as condoms, safer sex practices, and/or pre-exposure prophylaxis for an HIV-negative partner until your viral load is undetectable again.
Taking HIV medicine to maintain an undetectable viral load does not protect you or your partner from getting other sexually transmitted diseases , so talk to your provider about ways to prevent other STDs.
Symptoms Of Hiv/aids And Stages
Many people donât have symptoms at first, and sometimes even for years or decades. But there are signs that can happen, such as flu-like symptoms soon after you become infected with HIV. Even if you donât feel sick, HIV damages the immune system. It hijacks infection-fighting white blood cells called CD4 cells and uses them to churn out thousands of copies of itself. Without treatment, HIV destroys so many of these cells that your body canât protect you from life-threatening infections. If your CD4 count drops below 200, you have AIDS.
There are three stages of HIV infection:
Stage 1: This the earliest stage. You may also hear it called the âacuteâ stage. You might have a fever, rash, fatigue, chills, and other flu-like symptoms. But you might not have any symptoms. If you do, they may start 2-4 weeks after youâre infected. During this time, the virus quickly makes many copies of itself.
Stage 2: During this stage, HIV continues to reproduce, and it slowly damages your immune system over time. You might not feel sick or have symptoms. But HIV isnât gone, and you can still spread it to other people. This stage can last for years or even decades.
Stage 3: This is when you have AIDS. Your immune system has been severely damaged, leaving you vulnerable to other illnesses. With AIDS, many people have symptoms such as chills, fever, sweats, swollen lymph glands, weakness, and weight loss.
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How Hiv Is Transmitted
The first step in determining whether you are at risk of HIV is to better understand how the virus is transmitted.
HIV thrives in certain body fluids, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk. Most people get infected when exposed to HIV through these fluids.
HIV is transmitted through:
HIV can also be passed from mother to child during childbirth, although this is less common in the developed world due to advances in prevention and treatment.
It is important to note that HIV cannot penetrate intact skin. The virus can enter the body either through porous mucosal tissues , through breaks in vulnerable tissues , or directly through the bloodstream.
HIV infection can occur with just one exposure, particularly in high-risk individuals.
By contrast, HIV does not thrive in saliva, urine, tears, or feces and cannot survive in infectious quantities when exposed to air and environmental conditions.
What Is The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
The term AIDS refers to the most advanced stages of HIV infection. Most of the conditions affecting people with AIDS are opportunistic infections that generally do not affect healthy people. In people with AIDS, these infections are often severe and sometimes fatal because the immune system is so ravaged by HIV that the body cannot fight off the infection. Symptoms of opportunistic infections common in people with AIDS include:
- coughing and shortness of breath
- seizures and lack of coordination
- difficult or painful swallowing
- severe headaches
People with AIDS also are particularly prone to developing various cancers. These cancers are usually more aggressive and difficult to treat in people with AIDS.
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Understanding A Negative Result
What does a negative test result mean?
A negative result doesnt necessarily mean that you dont have HIV. This is due to the window period.
If you test again after the window period, have no possible HIV exposure during the window period, and the result comes back negative, you do not have HIV.
If you have certain risk factors, you should continue getting tested at least once a year. Learn more about who is at risk for HIV;and why they should be tested more often.
If I have a negative result, does that mean my partner is HIV-negative also?
No. Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status.
HIV is not necessarily transmitted every time you have sex or share needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment. And;the risk of getting HIV;varies depending on the type of exposure or behavior. It is important to remember that taking an HIV test is not a way to find out if your partner has HIV.
Its important to be open with your partners and ask them to tell you their HIV status. But keep in mind that your partners may not know or may be wrong about their status, and some may not tell you if they have HIV even if they are aware of their status. Consider getting tested together so you can both know your HIV status and take steps to keep yourselves healthy.
You Can Have Hiv And Not Know It
When some people are first infected with HIV, they can experience flulike symptoms such as fatigue, fever, headache, sore throat, and muscle and joint pain within the first two to four weeks. But many other people wont experience any symptoms at all during this early stage of infection, the CDC reports, and they can spread the virus without realizing it. The only way to know for sure whether you or your partner is HIV positive is to get tested. Late-stage HIV before it becomes AIDS does cause symptoms, but these can be confused with other ailments.
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Are Women More Likely To Get Hiv
Yes. Biologically speaking, a woman is more vulnerable to heterosexual transmission of the disease because the genitalia are easily exposed to seminal fluids.
Gender inequality has great influence on the spread of HIV/AIDS among women. In some cultures, many women and girls are often put in situations where they engage in non-consensual sex or have sex for money.
In the U.S., minority communities have been hit the hardest by HIV. African American and Hispanic women together represent less than 25% of all U.S. women, yet they account for more than 78% of AIDS cases reported among women in the country.
When Should You Call The Doctor If You Have Hiv Or You Think You Have Been Exposed To Hiv
There is also post-exposure prophylaxis , which is used in emergencies and should be started within 72 hours after the possible exposure. This involves taking antiretroviral therapy after this exposure. ART may be prescribed after sexual assault, or if you think you have been exposed during consensual sex or drug-taking.
If you already know you have HIV, you should follow your healthcare providers instructions on when to call. It is important to treat any type of infection, so call if you have new symptoms or things like a fever, sweating episodes, diarrhea, and so on. Its better to check with your doctor if you have any kind of symptom that worries you.
The main feature of managing AIDS is to continue to take your medicines and to fight back at opportunistic infections at the first sign of them.
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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:
How Can I Keep From Getting Hiv
The best way to protect yourself is to avoid activities that put you at risk. There’s no way to tell by looking at someone if he or she has HIV. Always protect yourself. Use latex condoms whenever you have any type of sex .
- Don’t use condoms made from animal products.
- Use water-based lubricants .
- Never share needles to take drugs.
- Avoid getting drunk or high. Intoxicated people might be less likely to protect themselves.
- Consider getting testedit is really important to be aware of your HIV status.
If you are a healthcare worker, you are at a slightly higher risk of getting HIV from a needle-stick injury, skin contact with contaminated fluid or from human bites. You should follow universal precautions:
- Always wear protective equipment when dealing with blood and body fluids.
- Follow careful hand-washing guidelines when dealing with such fluids.
- Follow safe handling guidelines for needles and sharp instruments.
- Be aware of post-exposure policies at your workplace.
If you are in a relationship with a partner who has HIV, or you are at high risk for any other reason, consider using pre-exposure prophylaxis, commonly called PrEP. This means taking one of two medicines every day, emtricitabine-tenofovir or emtricitabine-tenofovir alafen .
If you are a person with HIV who is in a relationship with a person who is HIV-negative, you should also be on a medication regimen.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
No two people with HIV will have the same symptoms, and some may not have any at all. But the infection can cause some common changes over time.
In the first few weeks: These first, flu-like symptoms happen because your body is reacting to HIV. Your immune system is trying to fight it off. The symptoms at this stage can include:
- Aches and pains in muscles and joints
Keep in mind that even if you have these symptoms, that doesnât automatically mean you are HIV-positive. Many different illnesses can cause these problems. Talk to a doctor or an HIV testing facility if you think you might be infected.
At this early stage of HIV infection, itâs important to know that you may not get accurate results from an HIV test. It can take 3-12 weeks for enough signs of the virus to show up on routine tests for the infection, which measure antibodies against HIV. A new kind of screening, called a nucleic acid test, can detect the virus itself during this early stage, but itâs expensive and not usually used for routine HIV testing.
Let the testing site or your doctor know if you think you might be recently infected. Also, be sure to use a condom every time you have sex, and take other steps to prevent spreading the virus.
After years with untreated HIV, youâre likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that your body is no longer strong enough to fight off. They can be a sign that your infection has gone from HIV to AIDS. You might have:
- Weight loss
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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Second Stage: Clinical Latency Symptoms
After your immune system loses the battle with HIV, the flu-like symptoms will go away. But thereâs a lot going on inside your body. Doctors call this the asymptomatic period or chronic HIV infection.
In your body, cells called CD4 T cells coordinate your immune systemâs response. During this stage, untreated HIV will kill CD4 cells and destroy your immune system. Your doctor can check how many of these cells you have with blood tests. Without treatment, the number of CD4 cells will drop, and youâll be more likely to get other infections.
Most people don’t have symptoms they can see or feel. You may not realize that you’re infected and can pass HIV on to others.
If youâre taking ART, you might stay in this phase for decades. You can pass the virus on to other people, but itâs extremely rare if you take your medicines.
How Are Hiv And Aids Treated
Medicines can help people with HIV stay healthy. They can also prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.
Health care providers prescribe a combination of different medicines for people with HIV and AIDS. They must be taken exactly as prescribed or they won’t work. These medicines:
- help keep the number of CD4 cells high
- reduce the viral load of HIV
Regular blood tests will check the number of CD4 cells in the body and the viral load.
If an HIV-positive person’s CD4 count gets low, doctors prescribe daily antibiotics. This prevents pneumocystis pneumonia, which happens in people with weakened immune systems.
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Aids Is The Final Stage
Controlling HIV with medications is crucial to both maintaining quality of life and helping prevent progression of the disease. Stage 3 HIV, also known as AIDS, develops when HIV has significantly weakened the immune system.
According to the CDC National Prevention Information Network, CD4 levels give one indication that HIV has progressed to its final stage. CD4 levels decreasing below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood is considered a sign of AIDS. A normal range is considered 500 to 1,600 cells/mm3.
AIDS can be diagnosed with a blood test to measure CD4. Sometimes its also determined simply by a persons overall health. In particular, an infection thats rare in people who dont have HIV may indicate AIDS. Symptoms of AIDS include:
- persistent high fevers of over 100°F
AIDS is the final stage of HIV. According to AIDSinfo, it takes at least 10 years without treatment for most people with HIV to develop AIDS.
At that point, the body is susceptible to a wide range of infections and cant effectively fight them off. Medical intervention is necessary to treat AIDS-related illnesses or complications that can otherwise be fatal. Without treatments, the CDC estimates the average survival rate to be three years once AIDS is diagnosed. Depending on the severity of their condition, a persons outlook may be significantly shorter.
How Often Should A Man Get Tested
Sexually active men should get routine tests for HIV.
Men who are sexually active should get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime as part of their routine health care.
The CDC recommend that everyone between the ages of should take an HIV test.
The CDC also recommend that people with specific risk factors should take a test at least once a year . This recommendation applies to gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men, and users of injectable drugs.
Besides these formal recommendations, everyone who may have been exposed to HIV or had sex without a condom should also take a test.
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