Early signs that you may have HIV infection

The early symptoms of HIV infection are very similar to symptoms of other common illnesses caused by a virus infection, such as influenza, tonsillitis and chest infection. This means it is easy to miss the early symptoms of HIV infection and not get the right medical attention on time. However, there are early typical symptoms off HIV infection you can watch out for to detect the infection early.

Early symptoms of HIV infection

Most HIV infected people experience flu-like illness that occurs about two to six weeks after infection. After a short period of the flu-like illness symptoms appearing, they usually disappear for years, some times even decades. It is important that you catch the symptoms early to get timely treatment.

The short, flue-like illnesses that occur a few weeks after first infection are medically known as seroconversion illness. Approximately 80% of all HIV infected people experience seroconversion illness. The most common seroconversion illness symptoms include:

- Soar throat

- Body rash

- Raised temperature or fever

Other seroconversion illness symptoms include:

- Muscle pain

- Joint pain

- Tiredness, and

- Swollen nodes or glands.

Dealing with HIV infection

If you have several of these symptoms and you think you may have been exposed to HIV infection, get a HIV test to be sure of your HIV status. Note that all these symptoms may be caused by other viruses other than HIV. The symptoms do not necessarily mean you are infected by the HIV virus. Get tested for HIV to be sure of your status.

Being HIV positive is not a death sentence. HIV infection can be managed with medical treatment and you can continue with your daily life activities normally with the infection. Treatment of HIV infection involves continuous intake of antiviral drugs. You must take all your HIV medication, following the doctor’s instructions to the letter, otherwise the virus can become resistant to the antiviral drugs.

After the early HIV symptoms disappear, no further symptoms will appear for several years. This period when further HIV symptoms disappear is known as asymptomatic HIV infection and can last as long as 10 years. During asymptomatic HIV infection, the HIV virus continues to spread in the body and destroys the immune system. You will look and feel well until after asymptomatic HIV infection is over, at which time you may have full blown HIV and Aids.

Preventing HIV infection

Don’t put yourself in a position where you are at risk of contracting HIV. If you steer clear of HIV risk situations, you won’t have to worry about early signs of HIV infection. Use a condom whenever you have penetrative sex for both vaginal and anal penetration. The chance of contracting HIV infection if you use a condom and it stays on without ripping off is almost zero.

If, however, you don’t use a condom or it breaks during sexual intercourse, it may be necessary to get Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a month-long anti-HIV infection medication treatment designed to prevent new HIV infections. Get PEP as early as possible after an unsafe sexual encounter to boost the success of the treatment.

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