HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that alters a human’s immune system. With our immune system as the target, it leads to a lot of immune system problems like infections and diseases. If this virus is left untreated, it may advance to a stage- AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). There is a treatment for HIV so it will not proceed to AIDS as long as they adhere properly to the medication called antiretroviral therapy (ART). So, how would people know they have it? What are the early symptoms of HIV?
What is HIV?
HIV, though considered as an illness, can be tolerable to live within a lifetime, as long as she or he adheres to proper medication. HIV is a vicious virus because it attacks the T cells of our immune system. Once our immune system is targeted by these viri, their functionality is compromised leading to infections, cancers, and illnesses.
How Is HIV Acquired?
HIV can be transmitted by the following channels:
- Vaginal secretions;
- Anal fluids;
- Breast milk.
The most common way of transmitting HIV is through sexual intercourse without using latex protection (condom). It may also be transferred by simply sharing things. Sadly, a mother with HIV can pass the virus to her unborn child.
Infection that is caused by internal and external microbes (fungi, parasites, bacteria) are the ones who inflict the severe symptoms of HIV. So, what are the early symptoms of HIV?
Early symptoms of HIV infection include fever, chills, joint pain, muscle aches, a sore throat, sweating at night, enlarged glands, red rashes, fatigue, weight loss, and thrush. At this stage, the virus continues to develop and attack the immune system continuously up to 10 years. However, complying to a proper medication like ART can suppress the virus.
What is the Late-stage HIV Infection Symptoms?
If the HIV is not recognized or treated, it might lead to AIDS. Symptoms of AIDS are the following:
- Blurred vision
- Diarrhea (chronic and persistent),
- A dry cough
- A fever lasting for weeks
- Night Sweats
- Consistent fatigue
- Shortness of breath,
- Swollen glands lasting for weeks
- Weight loss
- White spots on the tongue and mouth
AIDS is more vicious to its target which is the immune system than HIV. With the dawn of this last stage, your body is more susceptible to infections, cancers, and diseases. Doctors refer to this susceptibility as opportunistic infections or Ols. The severe symptoms of these are:
Candidiasis of the respiratory system
Candidiasis is usually a fungus that wreaks havoc the skin and nails. With AIDS, it can viciously attack almost all the parts of the respiratory system (the lungs, trachea, and so on and so forth).
Without a fully functioning immune system, cancer has a high possibility of occurring. Cervical cancer is the most common occurrence when you have the last stage of HIV. It might spread to the other parts of your body.
The most common symptom of this infection is a fever. This kind of infection is usually is usually transmitted aerobically.
This kind of fungus infects any part of the body but its favorite organs to target are the brain and the lungs. For the brain, it can cause swelling to the organ while in the lungs, it can cause a severe kind of pneumonia.
This kind of fungus targets your bowel movement. You might experience diarrhea and abdominal cramps chronically or persistently.
Cytomegalovirus disease (CMV)
CMV targets almost all important organs in our body. It may cause pneumonia in the lungs, gastroenteritis in the digestive system, and even encephalitis, an infection of the brain. Plus, you might have a CMV retinitis which is an emergency situation since it may permanently remove your eyesight.
This kind of infection can be a catalyst for a series of brain disorders. A person with HIV can live a full life, as long as they adhere to the proper treatment. HIV is a serious disease and should not be treated lightly. People should heed the doctor’s advice on the lifestyle changes that he or she should adopt. With regard to the intake of medication, a person diagnosed with HIV should properly follow the instructions of how to take the medicine.
Missing a few dosages of the prescribed drug might cause a dangerous effect. Try to devise a methodological way of taking the drug. So won’t forget. A great example of this is setting an alarm on your phone. Treatment plans for each person are unique. So chances are, you might not want to get advice from one of the patients. HIV medications can cause severe side effects and patients might veer away from the drug. If this happening, please consult your physician about your condition.
Prevention is always better than cure. Curing a disease particularly a serious one like HIV can be expensive. Prevent the contraction of the HIV disease by tweaking your lifestyle and protecting yourself from the transmission.
People living with HIV and AIDS should be extra conscious o how to they come in contact with their environment especially if they come in contact with the animals. Try to adopt a lifestyle where you have a meticulous hygienic hobby.
Regularly have contact with your doctor. It is inevitable that HIV is a lifelong disease and regular contact with your medical team is a must. They are the ones who know your condition and is the best team to answer all your question.
HIV is a tricky disease to diagnose since it’s symptoms are confusing and you might have no symptoms in the first place at all. It is best to be on the know about its early signs. If you suspect even a bit of its possibility, you should consult a doctor immediately. Remember, if this disease is left untreated, it might progress to its most dangerous stage which is AIDS.
People who have AIDS and those who chose to not treat it, suffer the consequence surviving at maximum, 3 years. 3 years might even be lessened by your body’s susceptibility to infection. HIV at its first stage can be suppressed by medications. If you adhered perfectly to treatments, you may live a full and active life.