“How long does it take to show symptoms of HIV?”- This is usually the question that most people who are suspected HIV positives are asking. Initial HIV symptoms often show up in the first four weeks right after the contact. The symptoms could last for a few more weeks but for some, it may occur over a shorter period of time. Contact Health on 21 if you think that you or a loved one is suffering from HIV.
What Is HIV
HIV, or also known as “human immunodeficiency virus”, is a kind of virus that gradually kills the immune system. The main reason why it gets worse over time is that it makes alterations to the immunity making a person vulnerable to infections and diseases. Before turning into AIDS, HIV infection will primarily go through different stages as the situation gets more dreadful.
Thankfully, because of modern medical advancements, HIV infection can now be easily diagnosed. Making it easier for healthcare workers to prevent it from developing into AIDS.
Additionally, compared to the older times, people with HIV may now have a longer life expectancy as the disease becomes more manageable given that the patient undergoes antiretroviral therapy regularly.
So how exactly does it take place? Once the exposure began, the human immunodeficiency virus slowly attacks the CD4 cells of the white blood cells, this is an important cell that plays a role in keeping the immune system healthy.
The virus duplicates itself with the use of CD4, thus making the body unable to fight off infections and diseases. Once it’s compromised, the patient will start to feel obvious symptoms. When this happens, risks and complications may arise including several kinds of cancer.
Symptoms Of HIV
The signs and symptoms of HIV may vary. Some people may exhibit symptoms as early as one week while others don’t even know that they are positive without undergoing HIV tests. It will also depend on the HIV stage you are in as this disease will only keep on getting critical without antiretroviral therapy.
1st Stage- Acute HIV.
Acute HIV symptoms show and evolve as early as 2 weeks after the virus contact. This is the stage where the amount of virus in the system is quite excessive making the infection grow rapidly without you even noticing it. Some of its symptoms include:
- flu-like fever
- muscle pain
- swollen glands
- sweating at night
2nd Stage- Chronic HIV
HIV infection is considered chronic when the disease is in progress. It can show the same symptoms as the first stage but as mentioned, not everyone is manifesting signs.
Because of being asymptomatic, some people do not even know that they are HIV positive. They only find out about the virus’ presence in their system once the disease has progressed into a more crucial condition.
3rd Stage- Symptomatic Infection
At this stage, the virus has already paved its way to tear down the immune system. By this time it has already replicated itself in a vast amount and other symptoms will start to show such as:
- yeast infection in the mouth
- weight loss
- trouble breathing
4th Stage- AIDS
In view of antiretroviral therapy, fewer HIV positive people nowadays are progressing into AIDS. This is the last and final stage of HIV infection where treatments will no longer be as effective.
Frankly speaking, this is the point where the immune system is extremely damaged by the virus and opportunistic infections will start to invade your body. Rare diseases will start to conclude, some of which don’t show up in people with a healthy immune system. Symptoms of AIDS include the following:
- high fever
- persistent diarrhea
- constant occurrence of spots in the mouth
- lingering fatigue
- feeling severely weak
- loss of weight
- unexplained rashes or lump in the skin
Understanding Antiretroviral Therapy
As of this writing, there is still no specific cure for HIV. However, modern medical technology uses antiretroviral therapy to treat and manage the infection. The main objective of this therapy is to oppress the reproduction of the virus and block its way to progress in crucial stages.
ARV has been an effective treatment to manage HIV infection making it the only procedure to ever reach an 80% worldwide success rate. In order for this therapy to be effective, the individual must strictly adhere to the medication. If not, the virus might start resisting the medication and may even adjust to the treatment leading to unsuccessful therapy.
The therapy works effectively because doctors specifically plan out the regimen for each individual. To guarantee that the treatment will work on the patient, several factors will be considered like the strain of HIV, its resistance capability, potential side effects, dosage, connection to other medication, and other personal preferences.
If you are suspecting that you contracted HIV, go to the nearest testing office in your area. This will help you fight off the virus first hand and it may even save your life. Ask for professional help.