The sooner you recognize and treat these HIV symptoms, the better your chance to live a wholesome life.
People shudder at the mere mention of AIDS. But, many don’t know that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that can lead to AIDS, if it is left untreated. The HIV attacks the body’s natural defense system- the immune system- directly. As the virus grows stronger, the immune system becomes weaker and cannot produce the antibodies required to fight off disease. HIV symptoms can be mistaken for any other disease but being aware of what reactions it has with the body can be the cue to getting tested. Sometimes, these HIV symptoms won’t appear until years after the infection has manifested in the body. Researchers are yet to find a cure for HIV and AIDS but there are medications that your doctor can prescribe that can considerably slow down the development of the condition. The first stage of infection is known as acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) and the following are the typical symptoms of it:
One of the foremost things to look out for are flu-like symptoms. Within a few weeks of entering the body, more than 40% of patients’ infected with HIV experience radical flulike symptoms and many describe it as “the worst flu ever.” ARS is also known as the first stage of the HIV infection and includes conditions like swollen glands, sore throat, rashes, intense achiness in the body, fever and headaches. This primary infection is the body’s natural response to the virus because copious amounts of it are being produced within the system. The virus attacks the immune cells and render the immune system unable to fight off any disease. These first HIV symptoms may go unnoticed sometimes but the amount of virus in the bloodstream remains high and the virus spreads more rapidly during this stage than the stages that follow.
One of the initial HIV symptoms to look out for is a mild fever that can range up to 102 degrees F. At this point, the virus has entered the blood stream and is duplicating in the body in copious amounts. This triggers an inflammatory reaction within the body and leads to mild symptoms like a sore throat, extreme tiredness and swollen lymph glands. Sometimes, the body may fail to produce a fever at all and so being aware of all the HIV symptoms is crucial in knowing if the virus has actually affected your system.
The inflammatory response triggered by the affected immune system can make you feel fatigued. Lethargy is a common HIV symptom and can continue to be both an early warning as well as well as a later sign of the virus. Common everyday tasks like walking can tire out the patient and make him feel out of breath. Many ignore this HIV symptom as just a phase.
The lymph nodes are play a crucial part in the body’s immunity. Lymph is a clear fluid that is produces in the system and is consists of white blood cells that attack bacteria. The neck, armpit and groin are common areas where the lymph nodes are present and these are essential for producing immune mature cells that can combat disease. These nodes are bean like structures that grow up to 2.5 cm long. When a person is infected with HIV, the white blood cell count can drop drastically. These lymph nodes are protected by the immune system and the blood by filtering out extra proteins, regulating the fluid produced, producing antibodies and white blood cells and combating bacteria and viruses.
The lymph nodes around the neck region are most likely the ones that are affected by HIV but it can also attack nodes present in the armpits and groin. Healthy lymph nodes are not usually visible to the eye but once they get infected, they swell to look like hard bumps. This reaction continues to occur as more lymph nodes are affected by the HIV. Treating this usually involved using antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection but the actual cause of the infection- HIV- should be treated. The Mayo clinic recommends that you visit your doctor if your swollen lymph nodes last for over 2 weeks.
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