HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that causes AIDS. HIV attacks the immune system by destroying the type of white blood cells that help the body fight infections and diseases. Blood tests are the only reliable way to find out if you have HIV. But there are symptoms that can be a warning that you have an infection.
Observation of early symptoms
Find out if you are facing acute fatigue for unexplained reasons. Fatigue can be a symptom of many different diseases, but it is a symptom that occurs in many people with HIV. If this is the only symptom you feel, it should not cause panic. But it’s something you should look deeper into.
Acute fatigue is not the same as just being sleepy. Do you feel tired all the time, even after you have a good night’s sleep? Have you noticed that you take more afternoon napes than usual and avoid strenuous activities because you feel you have little energy? This type of fatigue is a cause for concern.
If this symptom persists for weeks or months, be sure to get tested for HIV.
Beware of fever or excessive night sweats. These symptoms often occur during the early stages of HIV infection, during what is called the stage of acute primary HIV infection. Again, many people do not have these symptoms, but those who do have them usually face them 2-3 weeks after HIV infection.
Fever and night sweats are also symptoms of the flu and the common cold. If there is a flu or cold season, what you are facing will be caused by it.
Chills, muscle aches, sore throats and headaches, which are also symptoms of the flu and colds, can also be symptoms of early HIV infection.
Check for swelling of the nodes in the neck, armpits or groin. Lymph nodes swell in response to a body infection. It does not happen to everyone who has a primary HIV infection, but it is common among those who have symptoms.
Lymph nodes in the throat tend to swell more during HIV infection than those in the armpits and groin.
Lymph nodes can also swell due to many other types of infections, such as colds or flu, so further examination is needed to determine the cause.
Watch for cases of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms, which are often associated with the flu, may also indicate early HIV infection. If symptoms persist, get tested.
Pay attention to ulcers in the mouth and genitals. If you find that you have a mouth ulcer with other symptoms, especially if this does not happen often, it may be a sign of a primary HIV infection. Genital ulcers are also an indication that you may have HIV.
Recognition of advanced symptoms
Do not neglect dry cough. This symptom appears in the later stages of HIV, sometimes many years after the infection has taken place and the virus has been dormant in the body. This seemingly innocuous symptom is easy to ignore at first, especially if it occurs during the allergic season or the cough and cold season. If you have a dry cough that you cannot handle taking allergy medications or using an inhaler, it may be a sign of HIV.
Examine the irregular patches (red, brown, pink or mauve) on your skin. People in the later stages of HIV often have a rash on their skin, especially on the face and torso. Stains may also be present inside the mouth and nose.
Also flaky, red skin is a sign of later stage HIV. Stains can also look like ulcers and bulges
The skin rash is usually not accompanied by the flu or cough, so if you have it at the same time as other symptoms, see a doctor immediately.
If you get pneumonia, notice. Pneumonia often affects people whose immune systems are not working properly for some reason. People with advanced HIV are prone to pneumonia from a bacterium that would not normally cause such a serious reaction.
Check for yeast infections, especially in the mouth. Late HIV patients often have a yeast infection in their mouths. It looks like white dots or other unusual spots on the tongue and inside of the mouth. It is a warning sign that the immune system is not fighting the infection effectively.
Watch for signs of mold on your nails. Nails that are yellow or brown, cracked or chipped are common in patients with later-stage HIV. Nails become more sensitive to mold, which the body is able to fight under normal conditions.
Find out if you have experienced a sharp weight loss for no known reason. In the early stages of HIV, this can be caused by excessive diarrhea; In later stages it is known as “waste,” and is a strong bodily response to the presence of HIV in the system.
Be aware of problems with memory loss, depression or other neurological ailments. HIV in later stages affects the cognitive function of the brain. These symptoms are serious and should be investigated no matter what happens.
Know if you are in danger. There are several different circumstances that threaten you with HIV infection. If you are affected by any of the following situations, you are at risk:
You have had unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex.
You shared a needle or syringe with someone.
You have been diagnosed or treated for a sexually transmitted disease, tuberculosis or jaundice.
You received a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985, in the years before safety measures were taken to prevent the use of infected blood for transfusions.
Don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Many people with HIV do not know they have it. The virus can be carried in your body for more than a decade before symptoms begin to appear. If you have reason to think that you may be infected with HIV, do not avoid being tested for symptoms. It’s best to find out as soon as possible.
Get tested for HIV. This is the most accurate measure to find out if you have HIV. Contact your local health center, the Red Cross, your doctor to find out where to get tested. Go to the website http://www.aids-pomoc.cz/info_testy_hiv.htm, where you will find a list of test sites.
Testing is easy, affordable and reliable (in most cases). The test is most often done by taking a blood sample. There are also tests that use oral fluids (not saliva) and urine. There are even tests that you can do at home. If you do not have a doctor who can arrange testing, contact your local health center.
If you’ve been tested for HIV, don’t be afraid to stop you from picking up the results. Knowing whether you are infected or not will make a difference in your lifestyle and way of thinking.