The symptoms of HIV are quite difficult to identify, so the best way to confirm if you are infected with the virus is through an HIV test that can be done at a clinic or health center. If you have had any kind of risky behavior, especially if you had unprotected sexual intercourse or shared needles, for example, we recommend you do the test.
In some people the first signs and symptoms appear a few weeks after becoming infected with the virus and are similar to those of influenza, and may disappear spontaneously. However, even if the symptoms have disappeared, this does not mean that the virus has been eliminated, it just remains dormant in the body. Therefore, it is important you do a HIV test after having a risky behavior so that the virus is identified and, if necessary treatment be initiated. See how the HIV test is done.
First symptoms of HIV infection
The first signs of HIV infection can appear about 2 weeks after contact with the virus and may be similar to the symptoms of a flu. These symptoms may include:
- Low fever;
- Excessive tiredness;
- Inflamed lymph nodes;
- Sore throat;
- Joint pain;
- Mouth ulcers;
- Night sweats;
However, in some people HIV infection does not cause any signs or symptoms, and this asymptomatic phase can last up to 10 years. The fact that there are no signs or symptoms does not mean that the virus has been eliminated from the body, but that the virus is multiplying silently, affecting the functioning of the immune system and subsequently AIDS will emerge.
Ideally, HIV should be diagnosed during this phase, before becoming AIDS, because at this point the virus has a low concentration in the body, being easier to control with medication. In addition, early diagnosis also prevents the virus from spreading to other people, because from the moment a person has the virus, they should no longer have sexual intercourse without the use of a condom.
Main symptoms of AIDS
After about 10 years without causing any kind of symptom, HIV can cause a syndrome known as AIDS, which is characterized by a major weakening of the immune system. When this happens, symptoms recur and include:
- Constant high fever;
- Frequent night sweats;
- Red blemishes on the skin, called Kaposi's Sarcoma;
- Difficulty breathing;
- Persistent cough;
- White spots on the tongue and mouth;
- Wounds in the genital area;
- Weight loss;
- Memory problems.
At this stage it is also common for a person to have frequent infections such as tonsillitis, candidiasis and even pneumonia, so the doctor may be suspicious of an HIV diagnosis, when these infections are recurring.
When AIDS has developed, it is much harder to control with medication and therefore many patients with this syndrome end up needing hospitalization to avoid further infections and to treat the infections they have.
How to treat AIDS
AIDS treatment is done with a cocktail of medication provided for free by the government, which may include the following remedies: Etravirine, Tipranavir, Nevirapine, Delavirdine, Efavirenz, besides others that can be combined according to the protocol of the Department of Health.
They fight the virus and increase the quantity and quality of the defense cells of the immune system. But for them to have the desired effect, it is important to follow the doctor's guidelines and use condoms in all relationships to avoid contaminating others and help control this pandemic.
Condom use is important even in sexual intercourse with partners already infected with the AIDS virus. You should take this advise very seriously because there are several types of HIV virus and therefore partners can be infected with a new strain of the virus, making it difficult to control the disease.
What is AIDS
AIDS is a disease caused by the HIV virus that weakens the immune system, leaving the individual weak and prone to diseases that would be easily resolved. After the virus has entered the body, defense cells try to stop it from working, and when they seem to succeed, the virus changes shape and the body needs to make other defense cells capable of stopping it.
When there is a small amount of the HIV virus in the body and a good amount of defense cells, the individual stays in the asymptomatic phase of the disease, which can last up to 10 years. However, when the amount of virus in the body is much greater than its defense cells, the symptoms of AIDS appear, because the body becomes weaker and can no longer fight diseases that normally would be easy to solve. Therefore, the best form of treatment for AIDS is to avoid recontamination with the virus and follow the prescribed treatment according to existing protocols.