If you are a sexually active male in this generation, there are few more important things than knowing about HIV when it comes to your health. It has spanned all corners of the earth and affected all kinds of people. It doesn’t choose between the promiscuous and the sexually faithful. It is indiscriminate and unfortunately, does not have a cure. You can only get medication to manage it and make life more comfortable by fighting all the opportunistic infections that come with it.
HIV Symptoms in Men
Today, all that we can do as men is to know as much as we can about HIV. What is it and how do we get it? Most of us already know this. What we may not know is the symptoms. HIV is a disease that works on your immune system by hosting opportunistic infections.
Opportunistic infections are infections that would attack even a healthy person, but when they get someone with a compromised immune system, they will not heal. This means that it’s easy to get infection after infection, and think that it’s just the regular infections that one gets. What will warn you that something is not right is that you will notice that they take a long time to heal and take a great toll on your health. It’s important to go for a regular HIV test so that if you are infected, you can get medication that will help you fight these opportunistic infections.
Equally important, as a man, is to know some signs of HIV infection. Look out for the following:
Soon after infection, you will start to experience fevers that last a long while. Remember a fever goes both ways – you are either too cold or too hot. The fever will rise usually to around 1000F. If you notice this soon after having unprotected sex, see a doctor and tell them about it.
You will get mild to moderate headaches. These are tricky because many people suffer headaches on normal days just out of the day to day strains of life. They will seem not to ease completely with general headache medication so that you are always taking more. Again, this may be a sign of compromised immunity especially if you don’t have a history of headaches, so it’s advisable to see your doctor right away.
- Swollen Glands
Glands swell when they are laboring to fight an infection. Once the HIV virus is introduced into the body, it’s immediately recognized as foreign and the white blood cells want to flush it out. They can’t though, and that’s where the extreme labor comes in causing your glands to swell. Glands are usually where joints are found, especially in the underarm, groin and neck area. Again, swollen glands can be anything from a sore to tonsillitis. These are a little different though because they present with a degree of pain. In HIV infection, it’s unlikely that you will experience any pain.
Your energy and stamina levels drop drastically. You are not absorbing your energy giving foods as you should, and whatever is getting absorbed is being used to fight off disease. Tasks that you used to do easily are suddenly very tiresome. You want to sleep early and there is a general feeling of lethargy. If this combines with any of the above symptoms, better be sure of your status. Go and get tested.
- Body Rash
Different areas of your skin will start to get a rash that eventually discolors them. The rash may be raised or not, and will usually fade in a week or two. Sometimes it takes as long as a month. The discoloration should warn you that something is wrong.
These are all early symptoms, early signs that you need to have a HIV test. They may not necessarily mean that you have HIV, but its just as important to know what else could be causing you these symptoms.
Remember that HIV is now manageable and people live full and productive lives, but only if it’s caught early and you seek treatment in good time. You also need to be completely faithful to your medication so that your immune system is able to withstand attacks. Knowing the signs of HIV infection in men is an additional advantage. If you experience any of these for more than a week at a time, get yourself tested.
HIV Symptoms in Women
Before we start talking about HIV symptoms in women first we have to say something about HIV and AIDS in general. AIDS is a virus syndrome which weakens the immune system i.e. it weakens the ability of the human body to defend itself against various infections.
It is generally considered that there are certain groups of people that are in a high risk group to get AIDS. However, that is not true since there are three conditions that have to match in order to transmit the virus from one person to another.
– The virus has to be present in the body
– It has to be present in a large quantity
– It has to enter into the body via the mucus.
This can happen via small wounds in the mouth, vagina or the rectum, via skin cuts or directly through the blood by a needle.
HIV Symptoms in Women Guide
Early symptoms of AIDS in women can appear in the asymptomatic stage of the infection: weight loss, tiredness and skin changes, like seborrhea and dermatitis. During this phase the symptoms can vary, from bronchial infections to tumors in the mouth. It is also possible to get flu, night sweating, and loss of appetite, difficulty when swallowing, headache and diarrhea.
Certain gynecological conditions can also point to an aids infection and they can even be some of the first symptoms of AIDS in women. Most of the women with a good immune system will feel better after a standard gynecological treatment while women with HIV infection will have to be treated more aggressively since the infection can spread rapidly.
Gynecological conditions that can be considered as HIV infection are:
1. Persistent vaginal candidiasis that can precede the appearance of the candidiasis in the mouth.
2. Chronic infections of the inner genitals.
3. Genital herpes of high intensity that spreads rapidly.
There are also gynecological conditions that can be considered as risk factors for HIV infection. There is a better chance to get infected by the HIV virus if we get in touch with it.
– A woman which is infected with any kind of STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) has a greater chance to get infected by HIV. Genital herpes and syphilis make it easier for the HIV virus to get into the blood system. STDs that are not treated increase the risk by 100%.
– Vaginal irritation which is a result of Candida and Trichomonas infection or Bacterial Vaginosis can cause can make micro-damages on the mucus and increase the number of white blood cells. This increases the risk of HIV infection.
It is known that women who become sexually active in an early age and have many partners make a risk group for such virus infections.
It is important to state that HIV and AIDS are not the same. The person, who has HIV, doesn’t have to have AIDS, but the person who has AIDS also has HIV infection.
If you notice any of these HIV Symptoms in Women don’t jump into early conclusions. Do a HIV testing, which will remove any doubts and fears and make you feel safer and more secure.