Symptoms and Stages of HIV Infection

The HIV virus keeps on replicating in the body after the person is infected. At this time, the type and severity of the infection vary from person to person. The symptoms will vary in the time of manifestation in every person where it may take several years in one person and a few years in others. The damage caused by the virus to the immune system is irresistible which calls for immediate treatment to avoid further damage. There exists various symptoms and stages of infection as explained in this article.

Symptoms and Stages of HIV Infection

Acute Primary Infection/ Stage 1

This refers to the initial stage of infection. At this time, the body immune system reacts to the virus within the first one to four weeks leading to the development of flue like symptoms. These symptoms do not last for a very long time. They will be over within a few days and the infected person may or may not get them. Since such symptoms are very common, it may not be enough indicator of an infection hence being diagnosed would not be easy. Visiting a health professional is advised if you suspect that you might have been exposed to the virus. Moreover, if you are experiencing some of these symptoms like muscle pain, joint aches and pains, upset stomach, headache, swollen glands, sore throat, body rash or fever, you should get tested to confirm that you have or have not been infected by the virus.

The process of seroconversion takes place during the initial stage after a person has been exposed to the virus. The immune system of the body tends to produce antibodies that react against the virus. Since the infected cells tend to circulate throughout the whole body, the body will, as usual, react to the foreign material just like it does to the other foreign materials. This process of reaction tends to cause flu-like symptoms. The time when seroconversion takes is different in different people. The process can take several months in some people and a few months or even weeks in others. Getting accurate results of the HIV test at this stage is not easy. The virus tends to replicate very fast hence increasing the number of viruses in the circulatory system. Since you are not fully aware of the presence of the virus in the body, it is necessary to make use of condoms when having sex if you fear that you have already been exposed to the virus.

Asymptomatic Stage/ Stage 2

This is the second stage of infection. It is the stage after the occurrence of seroconversion and acute primary stage. At this stage, the symptoms may not manifest themselves and the number of years that it takes for the symptoms to be manifested varies depending on the general health, background and age of the person. This stage is characterized by general good health. However, it does not mean that the virus lies dormant in the body. In this stage, the virus makes replicas of itself and infects new cells damaging the immune system. It then calls for the treatment of the virus in order to avoid severe damage of the immune system which would otherwise lead to infection by opportunistic diseases.

Symptomatic Stage/ Stage 3

There is a difference between HIV and AIDs. The virus itself is the HIV virus while AIDs is the set of symptoms that arise from the activities of the virus. During stage 3, the boy’s system would have severely been damaged and the opportunistic infections kick in. due to the severe damage to the body’s immune system, fighting off any bacterial, fungal or even another viral infection is not easy since the body is too weak to do so. The stage is characterized by serious disease or illnesses, regular infections, skin and mouth problems, persistent cough, fever, night sweats, chronic diarrhoea and weight loss.

Conclusion

The HIV virus is a very deadly virus that needs to be kept in check. Thanks to the existence of the antiretroviral treatment, the virus is kept at bay and its ability to infect more cells and replicate is attenuated. Every person should go for an HIV test. If the test turns out positive and the existence of the virus in the body is confirmed, the person should begin the treatment immediately in order to avoid progressing to the third stage where the body is unable to fight even the simplest infections. Make sure that you go for a test today.

Read more : Prevention of HIV Infection

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