Health Tips: Signs You May Have HIV

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What is HIV?

HIV is a virus that affects the immune system, specifically the CD4 cells, which help protect the body from illness. Unlike other viruses the immune system can normally fight off, HIV can’t be eliminated by the immune system.

As HIV progresses, it attacks and destroys so many CD4 cells that the body can no longer fight off infection and disease. When this happens, the HIV infection can lead to the development of AIDS.

The time is takes for HIV to progress to AIDS may be anywhere from a few months to 10 years or even longer. However, not everyone who has HIV will develop AIDS. HIV can be controlled with medication called antiretroviral therapy (ART).

This type of drug therapy can prevent the virus from replicating. While it can usually slow the progression of HIV and improve quality of life, treatment is most effective when it’s started early.

HIV symptoms in men
The symptoms of HIV can vary greatly from person to person. No two men with HIV will experience the exact same symptoms. However, an HIV infection in men will generally follow this pattern:

  • acute illness
  • asymptomatic period
  • advanced infection

Acute illness

Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with HIV experience flu-like symptoms within two to four weeks after becoming infected. This flu-like illness is known as acute HIV infection. It’s the primary stage of the infection and lasts until the body has created antibodies against the HIV virus.

The most common symptoms include:

  • body rash
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • severe headaches

Less common symptoms may include:

  • fatigue
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • ulcers in the mouth or on the genitals
  • muscle aches and joint pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • night sweats

Symptoms typically last one to two weeks. If you’re experiencing several of these symptoms and suspect you may have been infected, schedule an appointment with your doctor and get tested.
Asymptomatic period

Culled from HealthLine