Normally, HIV symptoms are non-existent in individuals who have recently become infected by the HIV virus. But, within a couple of months from contracting the HIV virus, it is very likely that they will exhibit signs very similar to symptoms of the flu. The HIV symptoms will rapidly grow to include high temperature and fever, extreme headache, fatigue and overall body ache. It is also common to find enlarged lymph nodes that are easy to detect in the neck and groin region.
The initial symptoms of HIV will go away within 1 to 5 weeks. Because of the nature of the symptoms, they are often misdiagnosed as coming from a less serious viral infection. At this time in the infection lifecycle, people are very infectious with the HIV virus multiplying and taking hold in the blood, semen and vaginal fluids.
Shortly after the initial few weeks, the symptoms subside and the infected person feels normal. It may take more than 10 years from when the virus enters the adult body for more severe symptoms like extreme fatigue, rapid weight loss, intense fever and unexplained night sweats to begin to appear. Children and infants who are born infected may exhibit the more severe symptoms within 2 years from when they contract the virus.
What is HIV?
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is among the worst viral diseases known to man. HIV causes a fatal disease called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome – also known as AIDS.
HIV works by attacking defensive cells in the human body, rendering the cells useless. The cells, called lymphocytes are critical components of the human body’s immune system, the mechanism that prevents infection. When HIV kills the lymphocytes, the body’s defense mechanism grows weak and the body becomes vulnerable to attack by viruses. It is now that people can get serious infections that ordinarily would be prevented.
As health professionals gather more information on HIV and how it functions, they have begun producing medications to slow down the progression of the virus after it is properly diagnosed. The result of using the medication is, the successful blocking of the virus and preventing it from growing.
Treatment for HIV
If people diagnosed with HIV receive proper treatment, they’re able to live extended, and relatively normal, healthy lives. The HIV symptoms can be controlled, and like people with other chronic diseases like diabetes, life beyond the symptoms can be quite normal. However, similar to diabetes or asthma, HIV and AIDS cannot be cured, even though the effect of symptoms can be diminished.
There is ample evidence to indicate that use of drug therapy in treatment of HIV has reduced the death rate considerably. Beyond that, it has improved the life and enhanced quality of life for those people suffering from HIV. Any powerful drug therapy comes with risks of side effects, and the side effects of HIV treatment are worth considering before agreeing upon a course of treatment. Any patient, or loved one of a patient seeking HIV treatment should ask their doctor to review all the side effects and help decide the right time to begin treatment.
The goal of HIV treatment is to control the replication of the virus, giving the immune system time to rebound and build back its defenses. While treatment will prevent the virus from growing in numbers, it can not elimiate the virus entirely.
Using a technique called viral resistance, the HIV virus can mutate, making it difficult to stop with drug therapy. However, scientists are learning more about this virus every day and are hopeful that one day they can cure it.
As with other serious ailments, if you or a loved one have symptoms similar to those outlined above, please see your family doctor immediately for diagnose and a proper course of treatment.