Symptoms of HIV
Last modified: April 4, 2017
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Human Immunodeficiency Virus or the HIV causes the Autoimmune Deficiency Disease popularly known as AIDS. one cannot observe any apparent symptoms exhibited until a week to even ten years after the infection sets in.
Moreover, there are no actual and particular symptoms that can point out to HIV infection as the symptoms usually seen are similar to and caused by other infections that set in because of the weakened immune system of the sufferer. Only a HIV test can positively conclude HIV infection.
Many people infected by the virus do not exhibit any apparent symptoms although their immune system is already damaged by the virus. They may look and feel healthy, but can still pass on the infection to others.
To generalise, some people develop influenza-like or mononucleosis-like symptoms within a few weeks of the infection such as low fever, aches and pains or more severe symptoms. The doctors could easily misdiagnose and treat the patient for flu without looking for the deeper cause or the HIV infection.
Most primary HIV infected persons exhibit the following symptoms:
- A sudden and rapid loss of weight
- Dry cough
- Recurring fever with or without night sweats
- Extreme and inexplicable fatigue
- Swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
- Long-lasting diarrhoea
- White spots or unusual discolorations or lesions in the tongue, mouth, or the throat
- Loss of memory, depression, or other neurological disorders
If the sufferer is not diagnosed with HIV infection at this stage and no retroviral treatment is offered, an asymptomatic stage follows that could last several years. This is called the “window period”. During this period, some HIV infected persons develop fungal infections of the nails, vagina or in the mouth, chronic rashes, or diarrhoea along with weight loss and fatigue.
The final stages of the disease could be apparent as much as even twenty years later. As the virus progressively destroys the immune system, more serious infections set in There could also be malignancies and a decline in mental function.
Other than these symptoms, infections may be present in almost all the systems of the body. These are mainly in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, skin and other sense organs, and even the reproductive system.
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