Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV, attacks the immune system of human body and weakens it. Cells which are part of the immune system in a human body resist diseases caused by micro organisms. As the result of HIV, these cells of immune system become incapable of fighting such diseases. Thus, human body becomes vulnerable and falls prey to the attacks of micro organisms.
HIV & AIDS Differ
Before discussing the symptoms of HIV, it is desirable that you are aware of difference between HIV and AIDS. A person with HIV infection is not necessarily affected by AIDS. A person is said to be HIV positive if he is infected by the virus. However, if the virus is not contained and reaches another stage of its cycle, it becomes AIDS. In other terms, AIDS is an advanced stage of HIV infection, when there is substantial damage to the immune system of the body.
Early Symptoms of HIV
First Stage (Acute Infection)
Early symptoms of HIV are visible in one to four weeks of the ‘mistake’. The symptoms could include fever, sore throat, swelling of the lymph nodes, headache, loss of appetite, sweating, skin rashes, chest infection, vomiting, diarrhea, pain in joints or muscles, and mouth ulcers. Many a time, these symptoms are mistaken as having the flu or another viral-type infection.
Symptoms of HIV infection at this stage do not necessarily appear. However, in most people, they do appear to some degree. And there could be exceptions. People with strong immune systems could appear completely well. In that case, they would show symptoms at next stage i.e. after four weeks. Several times, symptoms of HIV are mistaken with the symptoms of other common diseases.
Second Stage (Seroconversion)
Seroconversion or the second stage of early symptoms of HIV occurs anytime after four weeks. At this stage of the cycle of the HIV, antibodies to HIV can be detected via a test. However, if a person is unaware that he is HIV positive, he could keep on living his usual life without bothering about HIV. However, if the person is aware of his being HIV positive, they may have psychological symptoms of depression and anxiety about the future. Physical signs of HIV infection could take up to five years before manifesting themselves.
A person showing physical signs of HIV infection depends on many factors. He could have large amount of CD-4 cells (cells which fight viruses). Age and general health conditions of the person could also contribute. However, an immune system that has been trying to resist the HIV infection eventually weakens and could easily be attacked by other viral infections.
How to Escape HIV
Best way of keeping away from HIV is to keep away from unsafe physical relations. However, if you do get physical, never forget to use condoms. Till the condoms are intact, chances are remote that you would get affected by the virus. Of course there are other ways too the virus could find to attack you. It might enter your body via an infected syringe or blood. The key here is to keep extra vigil. Always use fresh syringes if they are to be injected in the body. In case of blood transfusion, make sure that the blood to be transfused is tested for being HIV free.