HIV is a type of virus that can be communicated by blood, sexual fluid, and breast milk. This virus feeds off the immune system and weakens it. Thus, the body loses its ability to fight against fungus, virus, germs and other such infections. Your immune system tries to fight this virus over three stages after which it finally gives up.
The common causes seen is sharing of transfusion needles and sexual contact without protection. AIDS or Acute Immunodeficiency Syndrome occurs when your immune system has given up and you suffer from continuous sickness because of HIV.
Let’s see the three stages in close detail and also focus on their symptoms:
Primary HIV Infection:
You can’t know when immediately after you’ve been exposed to the virus. But within 2 to 6 weeks your body will start acting up as your immune system fights back with the virus. These symptoms are almost like the flu or common viral infections. These are:
- A headache
- A sore throat
- Red rash on torso
Doctors can now help you recover from this virus if exposed at the early onset of this stage. You can take protective drugs to fight the virus known as PEP. These drugs, however, work only if administered 72 hrs after being exposed to the virus and can have harmful side effects.
Chronic HIV Infection:
Alas, your immune system lost the fight against HIV. Now, your flu-like symptoms will subside and you won’t notice any symptoms that you can touch or feel. This phase is typically called the latent period. It can go on for more than 10 years. This time is used by the virus to destroy all the CD4 T-cells in your body.
The number of the cell will appear to be dropping and your doctor can use this as a sign to start anti-HIV drugs. With the proper combination of medication and a healthy lifestyle, the progression of the virus can be stopped.
This is the stage of the infection where the number of your CD4 T-cells drops below 200. This is the advanced state of the infection. Now if you visit a physician you will be diagnosed with AIDS. You can also be diagnosed with AIDS if you have an “AIDS-defining illness” such as sarcoma or Pneumonia.
If by this stage you haven’t realized you have AIDS, then the below-mentioned symptoms will help you.
- Experiencing fatigue all the time
- Fever lasting more than 10 days
- Inexplicable bleeding
- Purple bruises that don’t go away
- Yeast infection in mouth, throat or vagina
- Night sweat
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplainable weight loss
Without proper medication, an average human being will die within 3 years. But by early diagnosis, healthy diet, and proper medication, a person can live for a long time.