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Early Symptoms of HIV

[8 Sep 2010 | No Comments | 90 views | Author: Dee Braun, DrR, CA, CCT]
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Early symptoms of HIVHIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is an infection that is passed from one person to another through body fluids such as blood, vaginal fluid, or semen. The virus works quietly at first to replicate itself in the body and eventually affects the immune system, damaging it to the point that the person develops Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS, which allows opportunistic infections to take over.

Once HIV exposure occurs the person may experience early retroviral illness that mimics the flu. Symptoms that people report are stomach aches, muscle and joint aches, headaches, fever, swollen glands or a skin rash. These symptoms frequently occur within the first two weeks of exposure or they may not happen at all. If the person does develop symptoms they often disappear within a week to a month.

Once the initial early symptoms of HIV have dissipated the illness may remain asymptomatic for up to 10 years before the person becomes symptomatic. During any part of that time period, from the time they were initially exposed to the time they die, they are contagious and capable of passing along the virus.

If you know you were exposed to HIV you should immediately seek medical attention and speak with your doctor about prophylactic medication for the HIV. Studies have shown that taking these anti-retroviral medications will cut your risk of developing HIV by up to ten times. And, if you do develop HIV your initial viral set point is lowered which increases the amount of time before the infection becomes asymptomatic and decreases the symptoms that you do have.

As HIV progresses from the early symptoms of HIV to a more active form the sufferer may first notice enlarged lymph nodes or swollen glands that remain swollen for 2 or 3 months. There are also other symptoms that people experience for months or years before the full onset of AIDS which include fatigue, weight loss, more frequent fevers or sweats, yeast infections, skin rashes or in the case of women pelvic inflammatory disease that doesnt respond to treatment.

If youve been exposed to HIV your doctor will recommend that you are tested at 6 weeks and 3 months. Most doctors will tell you that the negative at the 3 month check is a good indication that your testing will remain negative. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that you are tested at 6 months as well.

Early symptoms of HIV may or may not be present with exposure to the virus. Good personal health practices and abstinence will decrease your chances significantly of contracting the infection that will, most probably, eventually claim your life. Each one of our decisions have repercussions and consequences. When the consequences include life and death the decisions we make have larger costs and require more intense consideration.

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