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HIV

HIV is a sexually transmitted infection. It can also be spread by contact with infected blood, or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding. It can take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS.

There’s no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are medications that can dramatically slow the progression of the disease.

Primary Infection :
The majority of people infected by HIV develop a flu-like illness within a month or two after the virus enters the body. This illness, known as primary or acute HIV infection, may last for a few weeks. Possible symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle soreness
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth or genital ulcers
  • Swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck
  • Joint pain
  • Night sweats
  • Diarrhea

Although the symptoms of primary HIV infection may be mild enough to go unnoticed, the amount of virus in the blood stream (viral load) is particularly high at this time. As a result, HIV infection spreads more efficiently during primary infection than during the next stage of infection.

Clinical Latent Infection :
In some people, persistent swelling of lymph nodes occurs during clinical latent HIV. Otherwise, there are no specific signs and symptoms. HIV remains in the body, however, as free virus and in infected white blood cells.

Clinical latent infection typically lasts eight to 10 years. A few people stay in this stage even longer, but others progress to more-severe disease much sooner.

Early symptomatic HIV infection :
As the virus continues to multiply and destroy immune cells, you may develop mild infections or chronic symptoms such as fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes (often one of the first signs of HIV infection), diarrhea, weight loss, cough and shortness of breath.