Though the outcome is the same in the end – to a large extent, the signs of HIV in the human body are relative, especially at the early stages. While they become very obvious in some persons in months, some may not even experience any symptoms for years. This virus grows stage by stage, destroying the immune system systematically and thereby making the entire body system prone to attacks of all sorts.
Below are some common symptoms all carriers of HIV experience at one stage or the other:
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Skin rash
- Irregular menstrual flow in women
- Headache and sore throat
- Change of the Nails
How Do These Affect The Body?
Weight Loss: One of the first obvious symptoms of the virus is the loss of weight due to diarrhea in most circumstances. This causes frequent and watery stools which weakens the general body as much as it persists.
Night Sweats: It has been discovered over time that more than the average number of persons infected with the virus get night sweats during the very initial stage of the infection. The temperature of the room is not a factor in this regard given that many carriers of HIV have been seen sweating in relatively cold apartments.
Fever: This is also one of the very first signs of HIV. Its manifestation is usually followed by other symptoms like sore throat, fatigue and the likes. Persons living with HIV often develop fever for a variety of reasons, chief among these can be an adverse reaction to medications.
Skin rash: Majority of persons living with HIV develop different skin problems of which skin rash happens to be one of. At this stage, the skin becomes apparently very sensitive to sunlight and other related external contacts. It suffices to note at this point that with the proper medication, skin rash can be managed, reducing its severity considerably.
Irregular menstrual flow in women: Women, infected with HIV experience some changes in their menstrual cycle which can also extend to pre-menstrual irregularities. At this stage, the usual cause of action changes and the initial method of awareness does too. It is important to take note of major changes in the menstrual cycle as they may be symptoms of HIV.
Fatigue: The apparent inflammatory response generated by the besieged human immune system can also cause the carrier to feel tired and lethargic most of the time. Fatigue can be both early and latter signs of HIV depending on the activities the infected person engages in.
Infections: HIV makes it very difficult for the immune system to fight germs in the body, so it becomes easier for opportunistic infections of all sorts to take advantage of this weak medium. Some of the possible infections that may showcase themselves at this stage include pneumonia, tuberculosis, skin infections, kidney infections, eye infections, etc. It is however, pertinent to note that taking necessary precautions can eradicate some of these illnesses and reduce their complications when they surface, further elongating the life of the sufferer.
Headache and Sore throat: It would be a great idea for anyone who had recently engaged in high-risk behavior, like unprotected sex, to undergo HIV test. This is even more important to adhere to once recurrent headaches and sore throat continue plaguing the body. Getting tested for one’s own sake and for the sake of others is vital to keeping society healthy and safe.
Nausea: This is a state or feeling which makes the carrier to anticipate vomiting or feel very sick. It is caused by numerous infections. However, in HIV related situations, it is usually due to problems of the stomach such as side effects from medications, diarrhea, and even anxiety in certain situations. Once this symptom has been noticed, one should go for HIV test immediately as it can still be managed at such an early stage. The patient can still be given some anti-nausea drugs before full treatment as a shield to deter that urge to throw up frequently. Most times, this anti-nausea drugs make the nausea go away in a matter of weeks as the body reworks itself to adjust to its current state.
Change of the Nails: Nail change is another common sign of HIV infection. This is often due to a fungal infection referred to as candida and it suffices to say that HIV patients with obvious depleted immune systems will be more prone and vulnerable to fungal infections.
A Very Important Advice
The cosmopolitan nature of cities around the world coupled with our busy lives may be encumbrances to getting tested at a medical facility, hence the advice to have personal HIV test kits one can use at home once any or a combination of these symptoms are noticed.