What is HIV?
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that affects the immune system, gradually damaging it until it can no longer fight off infection and disease. The HIV infects the cells of the immune system. However, for reasons that scientists don’t fully understand, HIV remains resistant to the immune system’s efforts to eliminate it.
What is AIDS?
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the term used to describe patients who are in the advanced stages of an HIV infection, when the immune system is no longer able to protect them from infections or cancer. The time between when a person is infected and when they develop illness may be anywhere from a few months to 10 years or longer.
There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS, but drug therapy can prevent the virus from replicating, keeping it “in check” and preventing illness.
Symptoms of early HIV infection, also called primary HIV infection or seroconversion, and AIDS (late-stage HIV infection).
Early HIV symptoms in men
In general, the HIV symptoms that men will experience are not all that different to those found in women. Apart from vaginal or menstrual changes all the tell-tale signs are the same in men and women.
HIV symptoms can vary significantly between patients. No two HIV-positive men will have exactly the same experience.
In general, a man’s HIV infection will follow this general pattern:
? Acute illness: This may or may not occur. Around 70% of patients notice it. If this occurs, it is most liekly to happen 1-2 weeks post infection. Symptoms include fever, sickness and chills.
? Asymptomatic period: A long period of time (up to 10 years) in which you do not experience any symptoms.
? Advanced infection: A highly weakened immune system makes you susceptible to a number of different illnesses.
Early STAGE HIV symptoms in men
Within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection, many, but not all, people experience flu-like symptoms, often described as the “worst flu ever.” This is called “acute retroviral syndrome” (ARS) or “primary HIV infection,” and it’s the body’s natural response to the HIV infection.
Symptoms can include:
? Fever (this is the most common symptom)
? Swollen glands
? Sore throat
? Muscle and joint aches and pains
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. However, you should not assume you have HIV if you have any of these symptoms. Each of these symptoms can be caused by other illnesses. Conversely, not everyone who is infected with HIV develops ARS. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for 10 years or more.
Symptoms Of An Advanced HIV Infection
It may take a number of weeks, months or years, but the HIV infection will eventually break down your immune system. This weakened immune system leaves the body susceptible to attack by so called ‘opportunistic infections.’ These are conditions that your body would normally be able to fight off, but which can prove fatal in HIV-positive individuals.
You may notice:
? Recurrent fungal infections such as fungal nail infections that will not go away or respond to over-the-counter medication
? Recurrent colds, flu and viruses
? Dementia, confusion and impaired motor skills
Notices any Symptoms?
If you notice any of these symptoms and you’ve recently put yourself at risk of HIV infection, you should get tested as soon as possible. You can visit your local GUM clinic or order a home test kit online.