Early HIV Indicators
Patients often wonder how early symptoms of HIV appear and due to the severity of the infection it’s good to know exactly what the first signs of HIV are. Early detection and treatment of the HIV virus is necessary to protect the body from stage 2 of HIV: AIDS.
Often those who contract HIV first experience one of a variety of flu-like symptoms including:
Diarrhea or overly loose stool – lack of stool hardness is one of the main complications arising from both HIV itself and medications prescribed for it.
Tender/sore/painful muscle aches – HIV causes joint and muscle pain, often sore to the touch.
Constant feeling of sleepiness – HIV infected individuals commonly experience fatigue and a general lack of energy.
Swollen lymph nodes – the lymph nodes in the neck, armpit and groins can become inflamed, causing pain and discomfort.
Sore Throat – as the HIV infection weakens the body immune systems, common infections that cause sore throats can easily take hold.
Headache – headaches often come along with symptoms of sore and painful muscles.
Fever – increased internal temperatures and sustained fevers.
Rash Outbreaks – one of the most common HIV indications, rashes can break out anywhere on the body including the genitals.
Genital/Oral Ulcers – open sores on the genitals or mouth and even down the throat, contributing to throat pain.
Night Sweats – HIV-infected individuals commonly wake In the middle of the night due to poor body temperature regulation (covered in sweat).
How Long Do HIV Symptoms Last?
This initial onset stage called Acute Retroviral Syndrome (ARS) starts anywhere from a few weeks to 3 months after infection and can last up to 4 weeks. Due to the ambiguous nature of the symptoms experienced during the ARS stage of infection, HIV is often able to cause serious damage to the immune system before being medically diagnosed.
It should be noted that not every HIV patient experiences the Acute Retroviral Syndrome stage. Reports vary in numbers but generally fall between 50-80% of the population of those infected with HIV experiencing ARS symptoms.
Early HIV Signs In Females
Many females infected with HIV are asymptomatic in their initial stages. Those that aren’t often experience sexual reproductive issues, abnormalities of the menstrual cycle or complete inactivity menstrual cycle. HIV compromises the immune system and as a result females (and males) become more susceptible to common infections such as the cold and various STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis C).
Early Signs Of HIV In Males
HIV in the male population has been on the rise and according to the CDC, over 1,000,000 Americans have HIV. Symptoms in men include rashes or sores around or on the genital area as well as all of the flu-like symptoms listed above.
How Early Can You Test For HIV?
Typically, HIV takes at least a month from exposure to show up in tests but there are new HIV early detection tests that can identify an infection up to 7 days after exposure. Early detection screenings are not traditionally offered at HIV testing facilities so be sure to inquire before as to whether or not it is a provided test.
The Later Stages Of HIV
No two HIV infections are exactly the same but they generally follow a three phase pattern from acute infection (ARS) to chronic infection (clinical latency), to AIDS and complete compromise of the immune system.