Hiv – Signs and Symptoms of Hiv

Symptoms that could serve as warning signals of HIV infection may go ignored because many women do not perceive themselves at risk. Symptoms include recurrent yeast infections (vaginal candidiasis), pelvic inflammatory disease, abnormal changes or dysplasia (growth and presence of precancerous cells) in cervical tissue, genital ulcers, genital warts, and severe mucosal herpes infections may also accompany HIV infection in women.

HIV, or the human immunodeficiency virus, is a sexually transmitted disease that assails the immune system. The virus attacks your CD4 cells (or T4 cells), which are necessary to fight off illnesses. Eventually, the virus overwhelms the CD4 cells and your body becomes unable to fight off diseases and infections. Once your body’s CD4 cell count falls below 200 per cubic millimeter of blood, and/or an opportunistic infection takes hold of your weakened immune system, you will be diagnosed with AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). Symptoms of HIV vary according to what stage of the infection you are in.

Signs and Symptoms of HIV

The first symptoms of HIV infection can resemble symptoms of common cold or flu viruses. The symptoms of early infection can also be similar to the symptoms of other sexually transmitted diseases and other infections such as “mono” or hepatitis, which are much more commonly and more easily transmitted. Stress and anxiety can also produce symptoms in some people, even though they do not have HIV.

HIV is diagnosed by testing your blood or oral mucus for the presence of antibodies to the virus. Unfortunately, HIV tests aren’t accurate immediately after infection because it takes time for your immune system to make these antibodies — usually about 12 weeks after infection. Rarely, it can take up to six months for an HIV test to become positive

Skin, mouth, genital symptoms — A characteristic feature of acute HIV infection is open sores or ulcers involving the mucous membranes and skin in certain areas of the body. They may be located in the mouth; the esophagus (throat, which extends from the mouth to the stomach); the anus; or the penis. Ulceration involving the esophagus often causes pain during swallowing. The ulcers tend to be shallow, with sharply defined edges, and are typically swollen and painful.

Everyone has had days where they were feeling a little “blue”. We all have been “down in the dumps” or felt “blah” But when these feelings last longer than a couple weeks you may be suffering from depression.

HIV-infected individuals are more prone to severe malaria than non-infected individuals. Malaria also causes a seven-fold increase in the HIV viral load of people with HIV infection. People with HIV infection should therefore take extra precautions when visiting malarial areas.

In most patients, symptoms of HIV begin about two to four weeks after exposure. However, there have been instances in which up to 10 months have passed between exposure and the first signs and symptoms of HIV infection.

Weight loss is a common problem in HIV and AIDS. Unless you are actively trying to lose weight by exercising and watching what you eat, weight loss is a serious problem.

Many illnesses have flu-like symptoms or cause swollen glands. You cannot have HIV unless you have been directly exposed to the virus. HIV can be transmitted during sexual intercourse with an infected person, through contact with infected blood or breastmilk, or during unsafe injections or medical procedures.

More serious symptoms include heavy bleeding if you are injured. Rarely, brain infections such as meningitis can affect people with HIV infection.