The early signs and symptoms of HIV in men are almost as seen in women, and these are experienced at the acute stage of the infection. Just like many other diseases and infection, HIV tells on its host as it continues to develop if adequate steps are not taken to curb its excesses. In most circumstances, people often experience no symptoms which is one of the many reasons why they live with HIV infection until it progresses to the stage of AIDS.
According to reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.1 million Americans are infected with HIV at the end of 2015. This number is on the rise because the early symptoms may be similar to other forms of illnesses, confusing those living with it.
It is important to know that a man who experiences any of the symptoms below should seek for an immediate cure in order to combat the virus at its early stage and prevent it from bringing about further severe effects.
What are the early symptoms of HIV in men?
As stated above, the early symptoms of HIV as noticed in men who experience them are relative in nature compared to other forms of illnesses which often mislead the patient to believe they do not have the infection. These early symptoms in men include:
- Swollen Lymph Nodes. This is a very common symptom of HIV that every infected man may experience because the lymph nodes form part of the immune system that is under attack. The main function of the lymph nodes is to shield the body against unwanted substances by removing pathogens from the blood and when this part of the body is weakened, the patient becomes susceptible to the presence of HIV. This could occur around a man’s neck, groin, or under his armpits, as the case may be. It does not come with pain but remains on the body during the early weeks after contact with the virus was made.
- A sore throat and decrease in appetite. One of the symptoms men may also face is a sore throat which would occasion the loss of appetite because of swallowing difficulties. This makes it very difficult for the patient to stay healthy since food consumption is impaired and the immune system continues to become weakened. Surprisingly, this early symptom may subside within four weeks with or without medication as noted in many circumstances.
- Skin rash. One of the first signs men would also notice is a skin rash. It could be reddish in nature and spread across the body, anus, and penis. The affected areas of the body do not feel any pain or aches. However, in many circumstances, the infected man may discover that such parts of the body are dry and itchy.
- Headaches and fever. The combination of these two could also be experienced by infected men where the body temperature increases to over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit which makes sweating and headache imminent. It could be experienced for about 2 to 3 weeks before it is resolved.
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. An infected male patient in most circumstances would experience these symptoms concurrently. This often happens as a result of antiretroviral therapy which, of course, the body was never used to or the opportunistic infections that may have grown due to the presence of HIV.
- Fatigue. As a result of the besieged immune system, inflammatory responses are generated which could make an infected man lethargic or tired. Men often misconstrue this symptom because they believe that it is normal to get tired after a stressful or non-stressful day. However, when the fatigue and tiredness become so persistent, a test is imperative because it just might be an early symptom of HIV that men experience.
- Concentration issues. When a man begins to find it difficult to concentrate and easily gets confused, cognitive problems might just have set in as a result of HIV presence in his body. This may subsequently result in dementia issues, lack of coordination and clumsy behaviors in men because of the inability to comprehend happenings around them.
How can the early symptoms of HIV be prevented?
Preventing the early symptoms of HIV is simply preventing the virus itself because a man cannot have its signs without the infection unless they are as a result of another disease. Certain behavioral practices can, therefore, help men to avoid experiencing the early signs of HIV. They are:
- The sole use of sharp objects like needles and syringes so as to avoid the use of HIV-contaminated ones.
- Use of latex condoms to serve as protective tools during sexual intercourse.
- Regular HIV test so as to detect it at the early stage if one is infected and prevent the severe symptoms that the early ones may grow to become.
There is still no cure for HIV. However, getting early and prompt diagnosis and treatment can slow the progression of the disease.
A 2013 study revealed that people with HIV might have almost normal life expectancy if they start treatment immediately before their immune systems are damaged.
Men often get infected with HIV as a result of ignorance and lack of investment in their personal healthcare. It is asserted by many that women are more healthy living-oriented than men. However, with simple medical precautions and care for one’s health, a man could live an HIV-free life and never experience the symptoms.