16 signs you might be HIV+

16 signs you might be HIV+
Published: 04 October 2013 (14526 Views)
Fever

One of the first signs of ARS can be a mild fever, up to about 102 degrees F.

The fever, if it occurs at all, is often accompanied by other usually mild symptoms, such as fatigue, swollen lymph glands, and a sore throat.

"At this point the virus is moving into the blood stream and starting to replicate in large numbers," says Carlos Malvestutto, MD, instructor of infectious diseases and immunology in the department of medicine at NYU School of Medicine in New York City. "As that happens, there is an inflammatory reaction by the immune system."

Fatigue

The inflammatory response generated by your besieged immune system also can cause you to feel tired and lethargic. Fatigue can be both an early and later sign of HIV.

Ron, 54, a public relations executive in the Midwest, started to worry about his health when he suddenly got winded just walking. "Everything I did, I got out of breath," he says. "Before that I had been walking three miles a day."

Ron had tested HIV positive 25 years before feeling so tired; fatigue during acute, or newly contracted, HIV might not be so obvious.

Achy muscles, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes

ARS is often mistaken for the flu, mononucleosis, or another viral infection, even syphilis or hepatitis.

That's not surprising: Many of the symptoms are the same, including pain in the joints and muscles and swollen lymph glands.

Lymph nodes are part of your body's immune system and tend to get inflamed when there's an infection. Many of them are located in your armpit, groin, and neck.

Sore throat and headache


As with other symptoms, sore throat and headache can often be recognized as ARS only in context, Dr. Horberg says.

If you've engaged recently in high-risk behavior, an HIV test is a good idea. Get tested for your own sake and for others: HIV is most infectious in the earliest stage.

Keep in mind that the body hasn't produced antibodies to HIV yet so an antibody test may not pick it up. (It can take a few weeks to a few monthsfor HIV antibodies to show in a blood test). Investigate other test options such as one that detects viral RNA, typically within nine days of infection.

Skin rash

Skin rashes can occur early or late in the course of HIV/AIDS.

For Ron, this was another sign that he might not have run-of-the-mill allergies or a cold.

"They were like boils, with some itchy pink areas on my arms," Ron says. The rashes can also appear on the trunk of the body. "If [the rashes] aren't easily explained or easily treated, you should think about having an HIV test," Dr. Horberg says.

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

Anywhere from 30% to 60% of people have short-term nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in the early stages of HIV, Dr. Malvestutto says.

These symptoms can also appear as a result of antiretroviral therapy and later in the infection, usually as the result of an opportunistic infection.

"Diarrhea that is unremitting and not responding at all to usual therapy might be an indication," Dr. Horberg says. Or symptoms may be caused by an organism not usually seen in people with healthy immune systems, he adds.

Weight loss

Once called "AIDS wasting," weight loss is a sign of more advanced illness and could be due in part to severe diarrhea.

"If you're already losing weight, that means the immune system is usually fairly depleted," Dr. Malvestutto says. "This is the patient who has lost a lot of weight even if they continue to eat as much as possible. This is late presentation. We still see a lot of these." It has become less common, however, thanks to antiretroviral therapy.

A person is considered to have wasting syndrome if they lose 10% or more of their body weight and have had diarrhea or weakness and fever for more than 30 days, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dry cough

A dry cough was the first sign Ron had that something was wrong. He at first dismissed it as bad allergies.

But it went on for a year and a half - and kept getting worse. Benadryl, antibiotics, and inhalers didn't fix the problem. Neither did allergists.

This symptom - an "insidious cough that could be going on for weeks that doesn't seem to resolve," Dr. Malvestutto says - is typical in very ill HIV patients.

Pneumonia

The cough and the weight loss may also presage a serious infection caused by a germ that wouldn't bother you if your immune system was working properly.

"There are many different opportunistic infections and each one can present differently," Dr. Malvestutto says. In Ron's case, it was Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), aka "AIDS pneumonia," which eventually landed him in the hospital.

Other opportunistic infections include toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that affects the brain; a type of herpes virus called cytomegalovirus; and yeast infections such as thrush.

Night sweats

About half of people get night sweats during the early stages of HIV infection, Dr. Malvestutto says.

These can be even more common later in infection and aren't related to exercise or the temperature of the room.

Similar to the hot flashes that menopausal women suffer, they're also hard to dismiss, given that they soak your bedclothes and sheets.

Nail changes

Another sign of late HIV infection are nail changes, such as clubbing (thickening and curving of the nails), splitting of the nails, or discoloration (black or brown lines going either vertically or horizontally).

Often this is due to a fungal infection, such as candida. "Patients with depleted immune systems will be more susceptible to fungal infections," Dr. Malvestutto says.

Yeast infections

Another fungal infection that's common in later stages is thrush, a mouth infection caused by Candida, a type of yeast.

"It's a very common fungus and the one that causes yeast infections in women," Dr. Malvestutto says. "They tend to appear in the mouth or esophagus, making it difficult to swallow."

Ron woke up one day to find white patches on his tongue. He had thrush. For him, "It was not bothersome other than I didn't like having it." The infection was hard to get rid of, but finally cleared up after Ron started taking drugs to combat HIV.

Confusion or difficulty concentrating

Cognitive problems could be a sign of HIV-related dementia, which usually occurs late in the course of the disease.

In addition to confusion and difficulty concentrating, AIDS-related dementia might also involve memory problems and behavioral issues such as anger or irritability.

It may even include motor changes: becoming clumsy, lack of coordination, and problems with tasks requiring fine motor skills such as writing by hand.

Cold sores or genital herpes

Cold sores (oral herpes) and genital herpes can be a sign of both ARS and late-stage HIV infection.

And having herpes can also be a risk factor for contracting HIV. This is because genital herpes can cause ulcers that make it easier for HIV to enter the body during sex. And people who have HIV tend to have more severe herpes outbreaks more often because HIV weakens the immune system.

Tingling and weakness

Late HIV can also cause numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. This is called peripheral neuropathy, which also occurs in people with uncontrolled diabetes.

"This is when the nerves are actually damaged," Dr. Malvestutto says. These symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and antiseizure medicines such as Neurontin (gabapentin).

Menstrual irregularities

Advanced HIV disease appears to increase the risk of having menstrual irregularities, such as fewer and lighter periods.

These changes, however, probably have more to do with the weight loss and poor health of women with late-stage infection rather than the infection itself.

Infection with HIV also has been associated with earlier age of menopause (47 to 48 years for infected women compared to 49 to 51 years for uninfected women).


- healthyliving.msn.com

Tags: HIV,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

PDZ bemoans govt's misplaced priorities by giving chiefs expensive cars

by Staff Reporter | 19 January 2018 | 259 Views

Mnangagwa's regional trips are strategic, critical and promotes regional integration

by Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo | 19 January 2018 | 168 Views

'Aliens' face challenges in registering to vote in Zimbabwe

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 111 Views

Roy Bennett 'suffered a lot in his attempt to build a new Zimbabwe'

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 189 Views

Who is the Representative of God on Earth?

by Tendai Tagarira | 19 January 2018 | 103 Views

Champions at home and abroad gone too soon

by Jacob Mafume | 19 January 2018 | 93 Views

Former deputy minister of education 'Tapela' dies

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 206 Views

WATCH: Mugabe 'forgot' Mnangagwa firing

by BBc | 19 January 2018 | 190 Views

Obert Gutu banned from MDC-T HQ by the Vanguard

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 166 Views

Mnangagwa's message to Davos

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 103 Views

MDC must lead by example in leadership transfer - Mliswa

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 123 Views

Heal Zimbabwe riled by increase in human rights violations

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 67 Views

Free and fair elections is a myth

by Zondiwe Gumede | 19 January 2018 | 110 Views

Why women keep out of political participation and activism in Zimbabwe

by Makho Precious Moyo | 19 January 2018 | 82 Views

About Marriage (Part 1)

by Belinda Chowa | 19 January 2018 | 106 Views

WATCH: Mnangagwa discusses how he hopes to drive economic growth

by Bloomberg | 19 January 2018 | 113 Views

MDC must urgently put its house in order

by Justice Benjamin Paradza | 19 January 2018 | 101 Views

MDC mourns the passing of the struggle veteran Roy Bennett

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 160 Views

MDC-T provincial chairpersons exonerate Khupe

by Tererai Danga | 19 January 2018 | 166 Views

Gukurahundi is not a bygone - Zapu

by Stephen Jakes | 19 January 2018 | 130 Views

'Arrest Obert Mpofu or else chaos will reign'

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 545 Views

Mnangagwa felt sorry for Grace Mugabe

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 466 Views

Axed Bosso players demand outstanding dues

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 129 Views

Varsity student shoplifts perfumes

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 171 Views

Stealing from the dead

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 115 Views

Bulawayo's Luthuli Dlamini takes City to the world

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 137 Views

Sex with late uncle's wife torments man

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 196 Views

Lying ben 10 dumped

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 118 Views

Mudzingwa opens up on Bosso exit

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 114 Views

Teacher forces 'lover' pupil to abort

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 94 Views

Man dumps wife for married girlfriend

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 168 Views

Baboon attack splits family

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 99 Views

R10 stabbing sends man to ICU

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 63 Views

Knives drawn as pastors fight in church

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 116 Views

Typhoid case in Nkayi linked to Mbare

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 65 Views

Woman feasts on own blood

by Staff reporter | 19 January 2018 | 83 Views