The first symptoms of infection with the AIDS virus include general malaise, fever, dry cough and sore throat, often resembling the symptoms of a common cold, these last for approximately 14 days, and may appear 3 to 6 weeks after contamination with HIV.
Contamination usually occurs through risky behavior, where there was intimate contact without a condom or exchanging of needles, for example. The test to detect the virus should be done 40 to 60 days after the risky behavior, because before that period the test may not detect the presence of the virus in the blood.
Main symptoms of AIDS
The main symptoms of AIDS only manifest themselves if the person does not take any treatment against the virus. These symptoms can arise about 8 to 10 years after being infected with HIV or in certain situations where the immune system is weak. These symptoms can be:
- Persistent fever;
- Prolonged dry cough and scratchy throat;
- Night sweats;
- Swollen lymph glands for more than 3 months;
- Headache and difficulty concentrating;
- Pain in the muscles and joints;
- Tiredness, fatigue and loss of energy;
- Fast weight loss;
- Oral or genital candidiasis that does not go away;
- Diarrhea for more than 1 month, nausea and vomiting;
- Reddish spots or sores on the skin.
The symptoms mentioned above usually arise when the HIV virus is present in large quantities in the body and the defense cells have very low numbers compared to a healthy adult. In addition, at this stage where the disease has symptoms, opportunistic diseases usually develop, such as viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia or toxoplasmosis, for example, because the immune system is weakened.
But about 2 weeks after coming in contact with the HIV virus the person may have symptoms that go undetected, such as low fever and malaise.
How do I know if I am HIV-positive?
To find out if you are infected with the HIV virus, first you should identify whether or not you had any risky behavior such as unprotected intimate contact or shared syringes, and be aware of symptoms such as fever, general malaise, sore throat and dry cough.
After 40 to 60 days of the risky behavior, it is recommended to have a blood test to find out if you have HIV, then repeat the test after 3 months and again after 6 months because even if you do not show symptoms you may have been infected with the virus.
Treatment for AIDS
AIDS is a disease that has no cure and therefore its treatment has to be done along the life span, and the main goal of treatment is to strengthen the immune system and fight the virus, controlling and reducing the amount of it in the blood.
Ideally, you should start HIV treatment before AIDS manifests itself. This treatment can be done with a cocktail of different remedies such as Efavirenz, Lamivudine and Tenofovir that are provided free of charge by the government, as well as all the examinations needed to assess disease progression and viral load.