HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus which is a sexually transmitted disease, affects about 36.7 million people worldwide. HIV is usually a consequence of having unprotected sex, but can also be transmitted through breast milk. Contact between wounds and broken skin and HIV-infected blood or body fluids can also result in HIV transmission.
In 2017, HIV continues to be a major global health issue, so it’s crucial to increase the awareness about this serious, often deadly lentivirus.
Just like with any other disease, the symptoms of HIV are mild and almost unnoticeable in the beginning, but as the disease progresses, so do the symptoms. What’s important to know is that the earlier HIV is identified, the earlier the treatment can begin, and the better the prognosis.
Here are 10 early warning signs of HIV infection.
A common sign of HIV infection is a fever. Unlike a fever that is a result of a common cold, HIV fevers are recurring and can last for weeks.
Nausea and vomiting are the most common symptoms of HIV infection. Because the infection compromises the immune system, the body more easily picks up bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
Patients with HIV tend to struggle with chronic fatigue. The virus affects the immune system, energy levels and stamina, resulting in constant and sometimes severe chronic fatigue.
4. Night Sweats
Severe, persistent night sweats could be a sign of HIV infection. Usually, night sweats go along with recurrent fevers.
Intense, persistent headaches are very common among HIV patients. There are primary types of headaches which indicate that the virus is in the early stages, and there are secondary, more severe types.
6. Sore Throat
Although a sore throat is usually a sign of a cold or flu, if accompanied with fever and night sweats, a persistent sore throat could be a sign of HIV.
If diarrhea is accompanied by nausea and vomiting, it could be a sign of HIV infection. Because the immune system is compromised, a bacterial, viral or fungal infection easily affects the digestive tract.
8. Muscle and Joint Pain
If a person experiences muscle and joint pain frequently and even after doing simple, everyday house chores, this could be an HIV symptom. Muscular problems are often one of the first warning signs of HIV infection.
9. Skin Rashes
Skin rashes, seborrheic dermatitis, red, itchy and flaky skin are all common HIV symptoms. The skin on the scalp, face, chest and groin is usually affected.
10. Swollen Lymph Nodes
Swollen lymph nodes are a sign that the immune system is compromised. Lymph nodes are found all throughout the body but swollen glands are usually located in the neck, armpits and the groin.