The symptoms experienced by individuals who are infected with HIV may vary between individuals and are generally experienced within the first 60 days of the infection. About 40% to 90% of infected persons also experience flu-like symptoms which are also categorized as an Acute Retroviral Syndrome (ARS). Be that as it may, some patients infected with HIV experience no symptoms for months or even years but all these are determined by a whole lot of factors which includes the body metabolism. Some of the first signs of HIV which may be experienced by an infected person would be explained below for easy understanding.
The first signs experienced by HIV infected patients
This happens to be very common among HIV patients and is often accompanied by other mild symptoms which include swollen lymph glands, fatigue, and sore throat. At this stage, the virus is moving into the infected person’s blood-stream and replicating in numbers while the sign which is experienced on the outside is a feverish feeling which most patients take for granted.
An infected person may also notice this sign in the body which appears in some circumstances in a similar boil-like form and an itchy pinkish breakout. It also forms part of the first signs which is taken with levity because it is interpreted by many as a mere skin reaction to something ordinary.
Nausea and vomiting
Majority of HIV infected patients experience this because the infection by nature compromises the immune system. By implication, the body is susceptible to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. The implication of having something wrong with the system is vomiting because the body tries to repair the system by removing the virus. It is important to know also that according to the International Journal of STD and AIDS, the two common signs at the early stage of HIV are Nausea and Vomiting and it is so easy to notice if one is careful enough to be observant.
This sometimes happens alongside nausea and vomiting as another early sign of HIV. It can be caused by bacteria, viral, or fungal infection just like nausea and vomiting, causing the immune system to become so weak because of the bodily lost nutrients.
A sore throat
This occurs mostly with night sweats and fever. Almost all HIV patients also experience it. Studies in Clinical Infectious Diseases has, therefore, shown further in 2002 that sore throats happen to be one of the severe symptoms exhibited by not just HIV patients at the early stage but other patients of various infections.
Swollen lymph nodes
Since the immune system runs throughout the entire body of a human being, the lymph nodes would definitely be affected because it is inevitable. HIV at its early stage weakens the immune system and makes the lymph nodes to become painful, tender or swollen.
Muscle or joint pain
According to the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons which was published in 2002, studies discovered that muscular problems also form part of the first signs which a person infected with HIV would experience. It is worthy of note to include that the pain felt by the patient would be intensified as the disease progresses to a more matured stage.
Loss of weight
This is referred to by some as ‘AIDS wasting’ and is a sign of advanced illness like HIV which happens after the patient has experienced diarrhea. The implication of losing weight is the depletion of the immune system which may be remedied by the use of antiretroviral therapy.
Actions to take after noticing the first signs of HIV
Asking for a test from one’s healthcare provider after experiencing some of these signs is a very smart move to make. The CDC has recommended HIV testing which should be done yearly – especially for those who are sexually active with multiple partners, people who use intravenous drugs, and people who have had sexual intercourse with an HIV infected person.
Going through this test is a very simple process which requires a very small sample of blood, or better still, doing it at home if one possesses a home test kit; hence the need to buy and keep this kit at home where it can be accessed easily.
Protection against the first signs of HIV
- Take precautionary measures especially as a healthcare worker by making use of gloves when attending to patients
- Avoid intravenous drugs.
- Use condoms during all forms of sexual activity which could be anal, oral, or vaginal if one is exposed to multiple partners.
- Go for regular HIV tests to ascertain one’s status as often as possible.
Note that some patients infected with HIV experience no symptoms for months or even years but all these are determined by a whole lot of factors which includes the body metabolism. In other words, it all depends on the body of every individual. So, get tested today!