AIDS symptoms tend to develop over years and are caused by the HIV virus. The virus can be found in the blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk of those infected. This infection is now a worldwide epidemic. After one is infected with the HIV virus, they may notice flu-like symptoms within the first month. The acute HIV infection may last for a few weeks.
The common acute HIV symptoms include: a fever, rashes, headaches, sore throats, mouth and genital ulcers, muscle soreness, joint pain, diarrhea, night sweats, and swollen lymph nodes. Many of these symptoms are so similar to normal cold symptoms that those who are infected might not even pay great attention to them. However, at this point, the blood holds a high amount of viruses, because it is at this point that the HIV virus is spreading throughout the body.
After this period of time, the virus goes through a period of latency. During this period, there generally are no signs or symptoms despite the virus remaining in the body. People will feel fine for years because the immune system is not affected greatly.
The latent period tends to last around 10 years. However, some individuals can develop AIDS just a few years after acquiring the HIV virus, whereas some people are long-term non-progressors, and they don’t develop AIDS until much later in their lives. The symptoms of AIDS are caused by the weakening of the immune system and the decrease of CD4+ T cells in the body. CD4+ T cells play an important role in fighting infections. The HIV virus destroys these cells. Those with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to opportunistic infections, infections that don’t generally cause illness in healthy individuals.
AIDS symptoms are usually caused by opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections can include viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic ones. Common signs can include shortness of breath, difficulties swallowing (dysphagia), coughing, fever, fatigue, chills, night sweats, nausea, persistent diarrhea, severe headaches, weight loss, vision loss, forgetfulness and confusion, as well as seizures and vomiting. Fortunately, HIV and AIDS medication has caused a decrease in opportunistic infections.
Those with AIDS may be more at risk to developing certain types of cancers, such as lymphoma and Kaposi’s sarcoma. Women with AIDS may also be at higher risk of cervix cancer.
If you believe you may have been infected with the HIV virus, it is important to see your doctor soon to get tested before you notice AIDS symptoms.
My symptoms I experienced before being hospitalized due to AIDS