Human Immunodeficiency Virus or commonly known as HIV is part of retrovirus, especially its subgroup called lentivirus. The virus causes the infection that can lead to AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. When patients are diagnosed with AIDS, they also have Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection in their body. But if they only have the infection, there is a possibility that they will not be diagnosed with AIDS as the latter can be cured while the former can’t. There is no medicine in the whole world that is capable of curing this infection yet. The treatment for people who have this disease must be done as long as they live. Human Immunodeficiency Virus can live in only 4 fluids which are made by the body: in blood, sperms, vagina, and breast milk.
Commonly Wrong Perceptions about HIV
When hearing the word ‘HIV’, people always assume that it is correlated with AIDS. True, when they have this virus infection, it can lead to AIDS. But that is not always the case. If the infection is transmitted sexually, then there is a huge possibility that it can lead to AIDS. If it is not, then the person will only have HIV infection inside his body. The infection can be spread to other people if the patient is a mother. When the mother is pregnant and going through childbirth, her vaginal fluid or her blood can transmit the infection to the baby. Without proper treatment, the average time of survival for both the mother and baby is only 9-11 years at most. Therefore, it is very important to understand early signs and symptoms in order to prevent the infection to be transmitted to our body. This article will provide some of it only for you.
1. Early Signs and Symptoms
After being infected with HIV, during the early weeks, someone can be seen healthy as if there is no symptom or sign going on in body. But for some other people, the symptoms can resemble ones that they have when they got influenza. Headache, low-grade fever, and lack of energy are some of those symptoms. It can go away fast in a few weeks, depends on the condition of the person. But in other cases, it can take as long as 10 years for the symptoms to appear, only to be more severe than the previous mild symptoms.
2. Skin Sores and Rashes
When infected with HIV, someone tends to have problems on skin. The most common one is rash. Someone who has this virus will become more sensitive to sunlight and irritants. The rash may cause a red-colored patch flatly appears on the person’s body along with small bumps, and the skin might become flaky as well. For the sores, or also known as lesions, could be difficult to treat. It might appear on the skin of the genitals, the mouth, and anus. The risk of getting shingles and herpes is also increased for the people who are infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Nevertheless, the problems on the people’s skins might be reduced to become less severe using the proper medication.
3. Swollen Glands
As humans, we all have lymph nodes which are spread throughout our bodies, such as the ones in the back of the head, in the neck, groin, and in the armpits. The lymph nodes are parts of the system of immune which act as a storage for immune cells and fending off the infections by filtering the harmful substances. When HIV infection is spreading throughout the infected person’s body, the system of immune will be enlarged. The same thing goes to the lymph nodes, or also known as swollen glands. This symptom is one of the first recognizable signs when someone is infected. The case of swollen glands can last for a while, usually for several months.
Due to the HIV infection, the system of immune has to work extra to fight the harmful substances. But as time goes by, it is hard for them to actually do the work. Instead, other infections that see the opportunities to enter the infected person’s body are increased. Tuberculosis, pneumonia, and hepatitis C are among the other opportunistic infections. People who are infected with this virus will be more prone towards those kinds of infections which affect their eyes, skin, kidneys, lungs, brain, and digestive tract. Unlike influenza, the infections might be more difficult to be treated. To prevent the other infections to enter our body, make sure to wash your hands frequently and take medications for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
5. Night Sweats and High Fever
Sleeping at night for the people who are infected with HIV might only cause more harms towards their bodies. The night sweats might be accompanied by low-grade fever which usually happens between the temperature of 99.8° F and 100.8° F (or 37.6° C and 38.2° C). Fever comes when your body senses something is not right, but the reason why it happens might not always be clear. Since it is not a high fever, people who are not aware of their status being infected with this virus often ignore the sign.
6. Changes in Menstrual Cycle
Especially for women who are infected with HIV, the menstrual cycle might be changed from the usual. It can be heavier or lighter than normal, or sometimes you don’t have a period at all. This symptom can lead to other symptom namely severe premenstrual symptoms.
7. Yeast and Bacterial Infections
Another symptom that happens to women who are infected with HIV, the infections of yeast and bacteria are bound to happen more often to women than to men. It might also be more difficult to treat than other previous symptoms.
8. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Having an intercourse for people who are infected with HIV might lead to other infections which are transmitted sexually, such as trichomoniasis, chlamydia, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and gonorrhea. HPV further can cause cervical cancer or genital warts. If the person already has genital herpes, the outbreaks of the infections might happen more often and might be worse. Also, the body will not respond to the treatments of the infections as well as it does to the treatment of herpes.
9. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Still happens to women who are infected with HIV, this symptom in another infection which affects the women’s fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries. It might also be more difficult to treat as it lasts longer than the usual infections and might return more often.
10. Advanced Symptoms
If someone has been infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus for a long time, advanced symptoms can appear later in the future including vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, joint pain, severe headache, shortness of breath, muscle aches, trouble swallowing, and chronic cough. For extreme symptoms, HIV infection can lead to mental confusion, short-term memory loss, and coma.