HIV Infection or human immunodeficiency virus is an infection that attacks the body’s immune system. If untreated, it can lead to AIDS. It is the late stage of the disease and may lead to life-threatening situations.
HIV is a sexually transmitted infection. It can also spread through blood contact with an infected mother to child during pregnancy. Without proper medications, it may take a lengthier period for the infection to weaken.
What are the Symptoms of HIV?
The symptoms of HIV depend on the phase of the infection. Some people infected with the virus can develop symptoms within four weeks after the virus enters the body. Symptoms include:
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph glands
- Sore throat
- Painful mouth sores
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Swollen neck
These symptoms are mild and you may also barely notice them. But, the virus in the body is high which causes the virus to spread faster.
Symptoms of Symptomatic HIV Infection
- Fatigue and fever
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Oral yeast infection
Symptoms of HIV that progresses to AIDS include:
- Chills and sweats at night
- Chronic fever and diarrhea
- Unusual spots and lesions in the tongue
- Weakness and weight loss
- Persistent fatigue
Seek medical help right away if you have persistent symptoms to prevent spreading the infection.
What are the Risk Factors of HIV?
- Unprotected sex. Having multiple sex partners increases your risk of infection. Anal sex is highly at risk of HIV infection than vaginal sex.
- STI. Sores in the genital and other skin infections due to sexually transmitted infection can increase your risk of viral disease.
- Using IV drugs. Sharing needles and syringes can increase your exposure to the blood droplets of other people.
- Pregnancy of an infected mother. The infection can spread to the unborn child. HIV-positive mothers can avail proper treatment and reduce the spread of infection to the baby.
Stages of the HIV Infection
- Acute HIV infection
- Chronic HIV infection
- Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
How to Diagnose HIV?
Blood testing is a typical diagnostic method for HIV. It looks for antibodies to the virus that the body creates and attempts to fight the infection. Saliva testing is also another method to determine HIV infection. The result can take up to 23 days after the screening.
What is the Treatment for HIV Infection?
Treatment includes antiviral and antiretroviral therapy. It is a combination of daily medications and keeping the immune system strong. This medication prevents or stops the virus from replicating. It also prevents the virus from progressing to AIDS.