The possibility of getting infected with HIV, which leads to full-blown AIDS, is scary for most people. But that is the reality that cannot just be wished away. While the thought of being infected with a deadly disease is difficult to imagine for many people, advancements in the medical field have ensured that the HIV virus can be easily treated so that one lives with it for years, even decades, provided it is diagnosed and treated early. This is why identifying early symptoms of HIV in both men and a woman is crucial for long-term treatment.
What are the early symptoms of HIV?
In most cases, early HIV symptoms in both men and women appear like flu symptoms. However, in some cases, the symptoms may not be seen at all. Signs and symptoms of HIV can take months or even years to be evident. As the infection advances or gets progressively worse, early HIV symptoms can appear, for example, extreme tiredness, weight loss, temporary memory loss etc. Some of the common early HIV symptoms include the following: FeverHeadacheFatigueEnlarged lymph nodes
Generally, these early symptoms of HIV go away within one week or up to one month. Many times, these symptoms might be mistaken for other viral infections. During this period, those infected are highly infectious and have large quantities of HIV in their genital fluids.
Early symptoms of HIV in men
Early symptoms of HIV in men typically look like those experienced by women. Men should seek medical advice immediately the symptoms below arise: Fever and headaches that can last for up to 2 weeks skin rashes or ulcers all over the body, including the groin area, anus, and penisPainless swollen/enlarged lymph nodes on the neck, under the armpits, and in the groin areaExtreme fatigue and unusual muscle pain and achesDecreased appetite and/or sore throat
Many of the above early symptoms of HIV in men typically persist for a few weeks before they subside or disappear. Men who notice such symptoms should go for an HIV test immediately to determine if they have the virus.
Early symptoms of HIV in women
On the other hand, early symptoms of HIV in women are also almost similar to those experienced by men. And these symptoms typically appear in the first few weeks after transmission of the virus. The early HIV symptoms in women include the following: Painless swollen lymph nodes on the neck, and below the earSore throatFeverFatigueHeadacheSkin rash
It is important for females to understand all the early symptoms of HIV in women because this can help in early testing, diagnosis as well as treatment of the virus.
Advanced early symptoms of HIV
As one’s immune system gets destroyed, a number of complications do arise. The following are early symptoms of HIV infection that has gotten progressively worse: Weight lossLack or energy (lethargy)Frequent sweating and fewer frequent or persistent oral/vaginal yeast infectionsFlaky skin or persistent skin rashesTemporary memory lossPelvic inflammatory infection in women that is not responsive to treatment
Some people may develop severe and frequent herpes infections that bring sores in the mouth, genitals, and anus. Some develop a certain painful nerve disease known as shingles. Children infected with HIV are sick most of the time and usually have stunted growth.
Early symptoms of HIV are difficult to detect
Since HIV is a very long term virus, those infected can go for many years without showing any signs or symptoms at all. This makes many people assume that they are very healthy even when that may not necessarily be true. But it is also worth noting that early HIV symptoms in men and women can disappear within a few weeks of their onset. In essence, this means that if one misses the early signs and symptoms and does not also go for regular medical check-ups, it could be several years before they see other signs and symptoms of the infection.
Why checkups are important
Regular physical checkups may not indicate any early HIV symptoms until several years after the onset of the infection in many people. One should have annual checkups which include physical check-ups and blood tests to find out problems that may have not been detected. This approach is the best in detecting HIV symptoms early before they get worse or graduate into full-blown AIDS. It is recommended for everyone.
In conclusion, early symptoms of HIV are very common, such that it is difficult to differentiate them from symptoms of other viral infections. And in some cases, people with HIV don’t experience any early symptoms at all. All in all, it is important for people to regularly get tested for HIV, especially when they suspect that they have been exposed to the virus so that they know what to do.