Can you tell if the person you have sex with has HIV? Find out about its symptoms and figure out how to stay safe.
Are you sure you do not have the AIDS or HIV? Do you know the symptoms and can you tell by the other person, if they have it? These questions and knowing symptoms of HIV are crucial for people living in sub-Saharan region as it dominates by the number of infected people among other African regions.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for Human Immuno-deficiency Acquired. It is a name of a certain virus, which can live in the human body and lead to severe consequences and even death. This virus attacks only specific cells of the body – the CD4 cells, which are the immune system cells.
They are also called the T cells and respond to other viruses and bacteria which intrude the organism. T cells identify them and destroy them keeping you healthy. HIV attacks those cells and leaves the body unable to protect itself. It is like the army with no weapons.
Is HIV and AIDS the same thing?
Well, HIV is the cause of AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A person can have HIV without developing AIDS, but cannot have AIDS without HIV. Basically, HIV is the cause of AIDS. The virus blocks the T cells and a person gets weak immune system unable to cope with other diseases on its own.
So, the AIDS is the consequence of HIV. At this, a person may live with HIV for years without developing AIDS. In some cases, they would never develop it in the entire life. So, there is no such thing as symptoms of HIV/AIDS and these two can be separated.
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Symptoms of HIV:
The question is: can you detect HIV on your own and what are the main symptoms of having HIV?
Surely there is a long list of symptoms to be given. However, you must know the fact: HIV cannot be diagnosed based on the symptoms! The only sure way to do so is to take the blood test. Still, there are some symptoms that may move you to take the test or indicate that you might be dealing with the infected person in your family or elsewhere.
Early symptoms of HIV:
HIV takes time to manifest once a person gets infected. So the first symptoms may not occur right away. Here are the ones you may notice during the first month after being infected.
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Sweating during the night sleep
- Mouth ulcers, etc.
As you may see, all those symptoms can be caused by a regular cold, flu or other diseases. There is no need to panic if you get them, because they can indicate of just having a regular ARD (acute respiratory disease).
The symptoms of this virus may vary from person to person and even be different for males and females.
Symptoms of HIV in men:
US research data shows that about 50 percent of all men, who consulted the doctors concerning their symptoms were properly diagnosed and sent to timely testing for HIV. This means that knowing possibly symptoms can help you to detect the virus, get tested and obtain adequate treatment to have a longer life.
- Swollen glands
As HIV affects the immune system, at first it boosts its productivity. This leads to the glands or so called lymph nodes to be swollen and enlarged in size.
It can appear on hands, face, belly and other body parts.
- Flu symptoms
It may feel like you are having an influenza with fever, aches in the muscles, sore throat, etc.
- Reappearing diseases
After you get well from the ARD, you may feel OK for a while. This phase has no symptoms at all, but your body weakens along with the immune system. The next time you get sick, it is the heavy duty disease. And the ARDs can become often and reoccurring.
- Rapid weight loss
You may sense extreme fatigue and lack of appetite. Eventually you lose weight promptly without the radical change in your diet.
Surely, any of the symptoms or even their combination does not mean you have HIV. It just means you better get checked and get that blood test done.
Symptoms of HIV in women:
Now, HIV symptoms may be pretty much the same in women, but there are some additional ones to consider:
- Reproductive health
Women infected with HIV can get problems in that area, such as rapid changes in their menstrual cycle. Or, the period may stop at all. Plus, having HIV means the body has hard time fighting various yeast infections and they can get UTIs (urinary tract infections) more often or in a more severe form.
Symptoms of HIV in babies:
The trouble with identifies HIV in infants is that for months after the birth their bodies contain the antibodies produced by their mothers. Even if you run a test on such a baby, it can show false results. These antibodies to HIV may belong to the mother. They get into the baby’s blood, but the baby itself may not be infected.
- Low weight
Kids with HIV may not gain weight properly, even if they obtain all the nutrition needed for growth
- Low mental development
They be stay behind their healthy counterparts in mastering various skills, such as walking or talking.
- Serious bacterial infections
Children with HIV may easily develop serious bacterial infections and the doctors would have time treating them.
As you may see, HIV symptoms are not reliable for diagnosing this deadly virus without the blood test. And they differ from the AIDS symptoms. You cannot really detect the disease on your own and stay safe not interacting sexually with the infected person. No one is on the safe grounds until the test is done! Even if HIV has no symptoms at all the person can infect others and transmit the virus to them. The best prevention is the proper life style and purity in sexual relations in marriage.
Striking HIV facts for Nigeria and the world:
- Almost 70 percent of all people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan region of Africa;
- The same region is accountable for over 70 percent of all the AIDS death in the world;
- Over 20 percent of HIV infected kids die being of under 4 years of age;
- Over 3 million of people in Nigeria are diagnosed with HIV;
- 9 percent of all the HIV infected people in the world live in Nigeria;
- There is 400+ thousand children infected with HIV in Nigeria;
- 80 percent of all the HIV infected people in with world, who also have a TB, reside in Nigeria.
Living in Nigeria you cannot lightly take the HIV problem. Education is one of the cheapest and most efficient methods that can save your life! Stay informed and share this info with your friends and family to keep them safe!
READ ALSO: 4 Other Ways To Prevent HIV.