The first 8 Signs of HIV Infection

By:Meenakshi Chaudhary, Onlymyhealth Editorial Team,Date:Nov 27, 2014

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HIV infection is like any other viral infection, however, once you have it, you have it for life. Understand HIV better, especially the early signs of an HIV infection to increase chances of early diagnosis and better course of treatment.
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    HIV is just like any other virus, including those that cause the "flu" or the common cold. However, your immune system can fight off and clear most viruses out of the body, but it fails to do the same to HIV. HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, affects people for lifetime. There is no available cure for HIV. No matter what, early detection of HIV is very important. Here are some early signs of an HIV infection.

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    Warning Signs

    The symptoms may vary depending on the phase of the infection. Initially, most infected people experience common flu-like symptoms. These symptoms are hard to distinguish from general flu or gastrointestinal or respiratory infection. The first stage of HIV is known as acute or primary HIV infection. It is also known by another name called acute retroviral syndrome. A sure way to know whether you are infected is to get tested. Many people with HIV infection do not notice any signs or symptoms at all for many years.


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    Flu-like Symptoms

    There will be no signs of infection until the damage to the immune system has increased. But, you may get new infection or sickness due to the weakened immune system. The initial common flu-like symptoms include headache, fever, tiredness, swollen lymph nodes and rash. Some infected people may also feel muscle pain, sore throat, ulcers in the mouth or on the genitals.


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    Time Of Appearance

    Early HIV symptoms usually appear within one to two months of being infected. However, the initial symptoms may appear as early as two weeks after exposure and three months post-infection. Some people do not experience any early symptoms of HIV infection for several weeks. You can get yourself diagnosed if you experience such symptoms within 2 to 8 weeks of having unsafe sex. Early diagnosis based on the early symptoms can be very helpful.

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    Swollen Nymphs

    Early HIV symptoms include swollen nymphs nodes. If you notice swollen nymph nodes weeks after having unsafe sex, get yourself tested for HIV. Although, it can be very difficult to even consider the possibility of HIV, getting tested is very important. Even if you have no visible symptoms during the early stages of HIV, you can still infect others through exchange of body fluids. An HIV test is the only way to find out whether you have the disease or not.

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    Sore Throat

    Another early symptom of HIV is having chronic sore throat. You may experience other flu like symptoms such as headache and fever. However, flu symptoms accompanied by sore throat should hint you to recall all your recent sexual encounters. Were all of them safe? Even if they were you should get yourself tested regularly. Sore throat is a common early symptom of HIV infection.

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    One of the most significant early symptoms of HIV infections is the development of ulcers inside the mouth or around the genitals. You should take the early symptoms seriously and get yourself tested for HIV. Chronic ulcers inside mouth and around the genital region accompanied by rashes and vomiting could be a sign of HIV infection. Get yourself tested as soon as possible.


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    Even if you have had HIV infection recently, you may already be highly contagious. Your bloodstream may contain high levels of HIV virus, which makes it easy to transmit the virus along to others through body fluid transfers. However, not everyone has early symptoms of HIV, which makes it even more important to get tested for HIV if you believe you may have been exposed to the virus.

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    What Next

    Most infections following HIV infection are usually more severe and are caused by causative agents other than HIV. Such infections, called opportunistic infections, usually attack the immune system once it has been suppressed by the HIV infection. People who show no symptoms during early HIV infection may become symptomatic and begin to feel sick once they progress toward AIDS.

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