Alex Simring has written this brief overview which outlines some basic features of HIV infection. Remember that is article is not meant to provide medical advice, and that a physician should always be consulted if there is any concern about possible HIV infection. More information about the author can be found at Alex Simring’s Journey…Discover.
The symptoms of AIDS and HIV vary based on the stage of clinical illness. Below there is a list of the main stages of HIV.
“Most individuals develop a flu-like illness within a month or two after the virus enters the body.”, states Alex. This sickness, known as acute or primary HIV infection, may continue for several weeks. As you can see, many of these symptoms are relatively non specific and are typical of the flu. Alex Simring has pointed out that as such, it will often go unnoticed or just dismissed as a common cold or flu at the time.
Temperature and Fevers
Muscle pains and Myalgia
Chills and Sweats
Swollen lymph glands, mostly on the neck (cervical lymphadenopathy)
Although the symptoms of primary HIV infection may be so mild as to go undetected, the quantity of virus in the bloodstream (viral load) is not especially low at this time. Alex Simring has pointed out that consequently, HIV is particularly infectious during this time. Since people may not know they are infected with HIV during the early stages of disease, this can be a particular problem with disease transmission. This is one of the main reasons to practise so called “Universal Precautions” with sexual contact. Most people with early disease will have minimal symptoms and appear otherwise healthy.
Clinical latent disease
Alex Simring has also written that during clinical latent HIV, constant swelling of lymph nodes happens in some individuals. Otherwise, there aren’t any certain indications and symptoms. HIV remains in the human body yet, and in white blood cells that are contaminated. This is also a time when individuals appear otherwise healthy, and although not quite as infectious as during the primary phase, HIV transmission still occurs readily.
Clinical latent illness usually lasts eight to ten years. Alex has also written that a number of folks remain in this period longer, but many people will progress to later stages earlier.
Early symptomatic HIV infection
As the virus continues to multiply and destroy the cells making up the immune system, you may begin to develop symptoms and illnesses or persistent signs. Alex Simring has listed the following for example:
Exhaustion and Fatigue
Swollen lymph nodes — frequently one of the first indications of HIV infection
Shortness of breath
Progression to AIDS
The disease usually progresses to AIDS in about a decade, if you receive no treatment for your HIV infection. By the time AIDS develops, your immune system has been badly damaged, making you susceptible to opportunistic infections — disorders that would not trouble an individual with a healthy immune system.
A number of these infections’ signs and symptom and Alex Simring has listed the following:
Constant white spots or unusual lesions in your mouth or on your own tongue
Constant, unexplained fatigue
Blurred and twisted eyesight
Skin rashes or lumps
When to see a physician
Alex Simring has given the following advice: if you believe you may have been infected with HIV or are in danger of getting the virus, see a doctor immediately. In particular, if you have had unprotected sexual contact or shared needles with someone it might be worthwhile seeing your physician to order testing for HIV. Simring has also pointed out the there is a latent period after initial exposure to HIV, and so it is possible that you may need to be retested in 3-6 months if an initial test is negative. Most important is to make sure you always follow universal precautions and avoid having unprotected sex or sharing needles.