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.
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
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:
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What To Expect Next
If you find out you are HIV-positive, its important to keep in mind the condition is treatable. Antiretroviral therapy is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long theyve had the virus or how healthy they are. It works by lowering the amount of virus in the body to very low levels. This treatment can also slow the progression of the infection and protect the immune system.
Taking ART medications is vital to slowing the progression of HIV. Left untreated, HIV will progress to the second stage. During this stage, people may experience no symptoms at all. If no treatment is administered, an individual can stay in this stage for 10 to 15 years.
For people who have no symptoms of an acute HIV infection, it takes an average of seven years to proceed to AIDS.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
Some people experience flu-like symptoms at the start of an HIV infection. These early HIV symptoms usually develop within 2-4 weeks in an infected person and may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This early stage of the infection is known as an acute HIV infection.
Possible early symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Mouth ulcers
Itâs worth keeping in mind that such early symptoms can also be caused by other health conditionsânot just HIV. In short, if youâre experiencing these symptoms, it doesnât necessarily mean that you have HIVâwhich is why STI testing and consulting with your healthcare provider can be helpful next steps to take.
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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, .
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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.
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Is It Safe For Children With Hiv To Receive Routine Immunizations
MMR, or measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, is safe to give to children with HIV, unless they have a severely weakened immune system.
DTaP/Td vaccine is safe to give to infants and children with HIV.
Hib and Hep B vaccines are safe to give to children with HIV.
Hepatitis A and B vaccines are safe to give to HIV-positive children.
VZIG should be considered for known HIV-positive children, depending on their immune status.
A yearly influenza vaccine is recommended for children with HIV, as well as any individual living in the same household as a child with HIV. There are two types of influenza vaccine children and adults with HIV should receive the “shot” form of the vaccine–not the nasal spray form, as it contains a live virus. Pneumococcal vaccine can be safely administered to age-appropriate HIV-infected children.
Always consult with your child’s doctor regarding immunizations for an HIV-infected child.
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.
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Causes And Stages Of Acute Hiv Infection
HIV is caused by a retrovirus which attacks the bodyâs immune system, specifically CD4 blood cells which are responsible for fighting infections. During acute HIV infection, the HIV retrovirus destroys a lot of CD4 cells as it replicates. This can cause some people to fall ill with flu-like symptoms.
Acute HIV infection is the first stage of HIV infection. It is followed by two further stages:
Clinical latency, also known as asymptomatic HIV infection or chronic HIV infection. The HIV retrovirus continues to replicate within the body, but at low levels. The infected person may not experience any HIV-related symptoms, but can still transmit the virus to other people. Without treatment, this stage can last around 10 years. Towards the end of this phase, the personâs CD4 count starts to decrease and they may start to show symptoms.
AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. Without treatment, a person can expect to develop AIDS after approximately 10 years. During this stage, a personâs immune system is badly damaged and they are susceptible to severe illnesses such as chronic cryptosporidiosis, lymphoma and pneumonia. Without treatment, a person with AIDS will typically only live around three years.
Treatment can slow the progression of HIV infection, often by decades.
To 28 Days After Exposure
The exception: a symptom called lymphadenopathy, the sometimes painful swelling of lymph nodes in areas of the body such as the neck, armpits, or 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.”
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What Are The First Symptoms Of Hiv Infection
Symptoms of initial HIV infection are not very specific. Initial symptoms include a dry cough, shortness of breath and a flu like illness. During this very early period of infection only a small minority of people experience symptoms that are serious enough to require a doctor’s attention. During this stage, which is also called acute infection, the virus multiplies rapidly.
You might test negative for HIV antibodies during this stage, but you can still pass HIV on to someone else. This is called the Window period of three weeks to six months from the time of infection to the time when you will show antibodies against HIV. HIV antibodies begin to show in an infected person’s blood when they seroconvert.
Symptoms At Hiv Life Cycle
HIV symptoms usually show up at two phases of the virus progression. In fact HIV progression is made up of three phases. And symptoms appear at the first and third phases. The first phase lasts 2 to 4 weeks after contamination. Then comes the first symptoms of infection. The symptoms mark the definitive presence of the virus in the body. However infection begins way before symptoms show up, from the moment the virus enters the body. By the time symptoms appear, the virus has already attacked and damaged part of the immune system. Their appearance indicates the virus expansion and its impact so far on the immune system.
Then other symptoms show up after the latent or chronic phase. The latent phase is the cycles phase where the virus expands unchecked, until it affects the whole immune system. At the end of this phase the infection mutates to AIDS as the final stage of its progression. Then the second wave of symptoms shows up. At this stage, symptoms are recurrent and stronger than the first ones. AIDS comes up late after the first symptoms because the second phase can last up to ten years depending on each persons organism. To better recognize them, learn more about the hiv aids symptoms.
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Nausea Vomiting And Diarrhea
In the early stages of infection, most people suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea for some time. These symptoms can be a result of HIV medication or opportunistic bacterial and fungal infections which tend to overcome the already weak immune system. Diarrhea that goes for a long time without responding to routine treatment can be a manifestation of HIV.
How Can You Identify A Maculopapular Rash
A maculopapular rash looks like red bumps on a flat, red patch of skin. The reddish background area may not show up if your skin is dark. The rash is sometimes itchy, and it can last from two days to three weeks depending on the cause.
How quickly the rash appears and where it appears on your body will differ depending on the cause of the rash. It can spread anywhere on the body, from the face down to the limbs. In some cases, your doctor may ask where the rash started on the body. This can help the doctor narrow down potential causes.
Since maculopapular rashes are most common in infections and body immune responses, more than one symptom may also appear. These include:
- our bodys own systemic inflammation
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How To Tell If Symptoms Are Hiv
There are three types of HIV tests:
- An NAT involves drawing blood from a vein. It can tell if you have HIV or how much virus is present in your blood. While an NAT can detect HIV sooner than other types of tests, this test is very expensive and not routinely used for screening individuals unless they recently had a high-risk exposure, or a possible exposure and have early symptoms of HIV infection. This test takes several days for results to come back.
- An antigen/antibody test is recommended for testing done in labs and is now common in the United States. It involves drawing blood from a vein, and results take several days to come back. There is also a rapid antigen/antibody test available that is done with a finger prick and takes 30 minutes or less to get results.
- HIV antibody tests only look for antibodies to HIV in your blood or oral fluid. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid. Antibody tests can detect an HIV infection 23 to 90 days after exposure. Most rapid tests and the only currently approved HIV self-test are antibody tests. They take 20 minutes or less to provide results.
Keep in mind, any positive result would necessitate a second test to confirm it. The only test that would not require a second confirmatory test is the NAT.
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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What To Look For
Whether caused by an HIV medication or by HIV itself, the rash typically appears as a red, flattened area on the skin thats usually covered with small red bumps.
A main symptom of the rash is itchiness. It can show up on any part of the body, but it most often occurs on the face and chest, and sometimes on the feet and hands. It can also cause mouth ulcers.
How Will Your Rash Be Treated
Treatment of your rash depends on the cause. For immediate treatment to relieve itching, your doctor may also prescribe antihistamines or topical steroids. You can also use over-the-counter drugs such as hydrocortisone creams or Benadryl. As mentioned before, be sure to see a doctor first before taking these over-the-counter drugs. You dont want to treat the symptom without knowing the cause.
Drug reactions: If the maculopapular rash is a drug reaction, the doctor will have you stop the medication and try a substitute, if necessary.
Infections: If the cause of the rash is a viral infection or a bacterial infection, you will be treated for the particular disease.For example, a maculopapular rash caused by the Zika virus has no specific treatment. In the case of Zika, you will be advised to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and use over-the-counter painkillers if necessary.
Allergic reactions: Topical steroid creams and wet wraps can help with inflamed skin.Your doctor may also prescribe antihistamines.
Bodys systemic inflammation: This treatment depends on your condition and whats causing your bodys immune system to react.
Sometimes the diagnosis may not be immediately clear, and the doctor may order more tests.
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Calculating Life Expectancy With Hiv Or Aids
Recent research shows that a young person with HIV or AIDS could potentially live almost as long as anyone else in the general population. But this is only the case if they have routine access to health care and respond well to modern antiretroviral treatments . So a 20-year-old who starts on ARTs today, for example, might eventually live to be 67.
Keep in mind though, since there is no known cure, HIV life expectancy varies greatly from one individual to the next based on many things. This includes early detection plus, gender and lifestyle choices such as alcohol, tobacco, or drug use.
Over the past two decades, HIV life expectancy has drastically risen. What was once considered a terminal illness is now a medically manageable condition at any age. Those who abuse intravenous drugs or possess a preexisting immune disorder, however, do not fare as well.
In light of huge disparities in access to health care and ARTs, the CDC regularly publishes reports on obstacles to HIV and AIDS treatment. By 2016, it was estimated that 1.1 million people in the U.S., aged 13 or older, had HIV .
When Does A Person With Hiv Develop Aids
Several years after infection with HIV a person may experience symptoms of particular illnesses and cancers. These are the result of the infected person’s immune system being damaged by HIV to the point where it is no longer able to fight off these opportunistic infections.
In general, without antiretroviral treatment, it can take 8 10 years before these symptoms start to show. But of course this also depends on the strength of an individuals immune-system from the start, and how well he/she is able to keep a strong immune-system with measures of proper diet, exercise, positive attitudes, spirituality, etc. Genetics play a role here too.
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