These Are The Symptoms of HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that ultimately leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). There is no cure for HIV. HIV causes your body's immune system to fail, leaving you defenseless against other sicknesses like the flu or pneumonia.
HIV is a disease that has three distinct stages. The symptoms for each stage are quite distinct from each other.
The first stage of HIV is know as the "acute infection" stage. The virus is the most contagious during this stage. The main symptom to be on the lookout during the stage is a flu-like illness, which tends to be quite severe.
The second stage of HIV is called "clinical latency." The infection can display a wide array of symptoms and this period can last up to a decade. During this stage, what is happening to your body in a medical sense is that the virus is replicating within the lymph nodes and attacking your immune system.
The third stage of HIV is called the "late stage." The body's immune system is for all intents and purposes destroyed by this stage. People in this stage of the disease will experience general weakness, such as weight loss and fatigue. Night sweats are also common.
Sometime in the first 42 days of contracting HIV, about 80% of people will experience a flu-like illness. It is called an acute retroviral syndrome (ARS). What is going on is that the body's immune system is doing everything it can to fight the virus. This sickness can last up to a month.
Another early symptom of HIV is a dark skin rash. This rash might occur on the face, torso, feet or hands. If you develop a dark rash and otherwise have no symptoms, it is important to get tested for HIV and to consult a doctor.
As mentioned earlier, it is possible to live without symptoms for up to a decade following the first stage of HIV. The only indication that a person might have is that their glands will be swollen from time to time.
The late stage symptoms of HIV are the easiest to recognize. As mentioned before, weight loss is great indicator. People often lose as much as 10% of their body weight during this time period because they will experience a loss of apetite and they will lose nutrition through excessive bowel movements, vomiting and because their intestine is no longer adequate for absorbing vitamins and minerals.
HIV is rare in the United States and indeed much of the developed world. There are still cases, however. It is particularly insidious because it is possible to seem healthy for such a long period of time before lots of symptoms start piling up. If you have engaged in any sort of risky sexual behavior, getting tested for HIV is imperative. You can order a test through our website or you can speak to your healthcare provider about testing options that are available to you.