Unusual Signs and Symptoms in HIV-Positive Patients

    • HIV is a persistent virus for which there is no treatment.
    • According to research, HIV can result in specific unexpected symptoms.
    • HIV-positive people can live long, healthy lives with therapy.

    The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a dangerous illness for which no known treatment exists. It implies that the 1.2 million Americans diagnosed with the virus must learn how to manage its symptoms. The issue is that 13% of those living with HIV are completely unaware of their condition, making knowledge of the signs and risk factors essential.

    It's possible that HIV-positive individuals unknowingly transfer the disease to others. So how can you tell if you need to get tested for HIV? Here is a description of this virus and some symptoms it may cause that you might not be aware of.

    What is HIV?

    Before moving on to the symptoms, let's review what the HIV virus does to the body. HIV attacks the immune system of the body. Without proper care, the virus can progress and cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    There is currently no treatment for HIV. The good news is that people can live long, healthy lives because there are excellent treatments accessible. Patients diagnosed with the virus must learn how to appropriately treat it to reduce symptoms and stop the virus from infecting others.

    Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection

    There is currently no treatment for HIV. The good news is that people can live long, healthy lives because there are excellent treatments accessible. Patients diagnosed with the virus must learn how to appropriately treat it to reduce symptoms and stop the virus from infecting others.

    According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms might occasionally be slight and barely perceptible. Stage One HIV symptoms can include:

    • Fever
    • Rash
    • Muscle aches and joint pain
    • Sore throat and painful mouth sores
    • Swollen lymph glands
    • Headache
    • Cough
    • Diarrhea
    • Weight loss
    • Night sweats

    Stage 2: Clinical Latency

    A person with HIV enters a second stage known as clinical latency after passing stage one. The virus is still in the body at this point but may not be causing any apparent symptoms or illnesses.

    Although you usually don't have any symptoms in stage 2, the virus still grows inside your body. Before their case progresses into stage three, a person can remain in this stage for eight years or more. Tests are the only way to determine if you have HIV definitively.

    Stage 3: AIDS

    HIV can develop into AIDS if the first two stages of the disease are not treated. The immune system has suffered significant enough damage at this level that it cannot defend against opportunistic infections or illnesses.

    According to Mayo Clinic, these are health issues that ordinarily wouldn't make someone sick if their immune system was in good shape. Unfortunately, the average lifespan of an AIDS patient without therapy is three years.

    Alternative Ways HIV Attacks the Body

    The most prevalent signs and symptoms of HIV and its three stages have been discussed. However, it's also conceivable for someone to have unusual symptoms. According to Very Well Health, some people may experience more severe health issues than the flu-like symptoms typically present in the early stages of HIV.

    When HIV was first contracted, several people in one study displayed signs that are characteristic of AIDS. As a result, their initial symptoms were generally associated with advanced HIV. It could happen for several reasons, such as if someone had an early infection with a very high viral load.

    Unusual Symptoms

    According to the Swiss researchers who discovered this, the rate of unusual acute symptoms in the actual world is roughly 15%, or one out of every eight potentially missed diagnoses. It is significant because it demonstrates that not all cases of HIV will present with early asymptomatic or flu-like symptoms.

    Some people who had HIV in its early stages reported the following medical conditions:

    • Severe gastric bleeding
    • Cytomegalovirus of the gut or liver
    • Herpes zoster (shingles)
    • HIV wasting syndrome
    • Gallbladder inflammation
    • Kidney failure
    • Tonsillitis
    • Esophageal candida
    • Herpes-related infection

    Risk Factors

    If a person comes into direct touch with specific bodily fluids from someone with a detectable viral load, they could become infected with HIV. According to the World Health Organization, the following conditions and actions raise your chance of contracting HIV:

    • Unprotected sex.
    • Having other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, etc.
    • Sharing contaminated needles, syringes, and other equipment.
    • Receiving unsafe injections, blood transfusions, and tissue transplantation.
    • Medical procedures that involve unsterile cutting or piercing.
    • Accidental needle stick injuries, including among health workers.

    People Most at Risk

    While HIV can afflict anyone of any ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or age, some groups are more vulnerable than others. In the United States, gay and bisexual males of all colors and ethnicities are most at risk for contracting HIV. Among racial categories, Black individuals are more dangerous.

    Nearly eight times as many Black persons had HIV infection in 2009 than White people, accounting for 44% of new infections. Finally, the CDC reports that Latinos make up 20% of all new HIV infections, making them another group disproportionately afflicted by the virus.

    Testing for HIV

    The most crucial action you can take if you think you might have HIV is to be tested. Over 161,000 Americans have acquired the infection without their knowledge. They risk growing sicker by keeping quiet and putting off getting tested. People who are uninformed of their status also contribute to nearly 40% of new infections.

    According to the CDC, higher-risk persons should be examined at least once a year. As part of routine healthcare, everyone else should undergo testing at least once. Three different tests are available to identify HIV:

    • NATs looking for HIV virus in the blood.
    • Antigen/antibody tests that detect HIV antibodies and antigens.
    • Antibody tests that look for antibodies to HIV in blood or oral fluid.

    HIV Treatment Options

    According to the CDC, a viral load is a term used to describe how much HIV is in a person's blood. HIV medications can aid in reducing viral load, sometimes referred to as viral suppression. Having less than 200 HIV copies per milliliter of blood is what is meant by this. Most people can manage the infection with medication for six months.

    When it comes to coping with HIV, significant progress has been made. Over time, patients have been able to control their illness and lead regular lives thanks to successful therapies. To prevent further damage to your immune system and spreading the disease to others, it is advised that you start receiving medical treatment as soon as you are diagnosed.

    Is HIV Ever Going to Have a Cure?

    The treatment of HIV patients has advanced significantly in healthcare. But will it ever be possible to cure someone of HIV entirely? Scientists are doing the study of it. Some even contend that they are approaching. According to NBC News, a lady who underwent a stem cell transplant may have been the first person to treat HIV successfully.

    The woman is reportedly asymptomatic, healthy, and dependent on HIV medicine. Despite this development, researchers are still cautious and choose the word "remission" at this moment rather than "cure." These study advances are undoubtedly milestones in the right direction, even though more work has to be done.

    Speak to your doctor to learn more about HIV

    Although there are HIV medications, prevention should remain a top focus. The infection can be avoided by being aware of your risk factors and implementing the appropriate safety measures. You can defend against HIV if you:

    • Get tested regularly.
    • Avoid risky sexual behaviors.
    • Use contraceptives during sex.
    • Limit your number of sexual partners.
    • Get tested and treated for STIs.
    • Never inject drugs.

    Visit your doctor if you want to learn more about HIV or if you believe you have been exposed to it. They can guide you on what to do next and offer further resources to help you treat or prevent infection.