10 Common Symptoms of HIV
Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is more widely recognized as HIV/AIDS. HIV causes AIDS, which hinders your ability to fight off infections. Currently, less than 200,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States.
HIV/AIDS is spread through infected blood and sexual contact (semen or vaginal fluids). HIV/AIDS can be treated, but not cured. Those who take anti-retroviral regimens (ARVs) radically slows the progress of the disease and tends to stop secondary infections and complications.
Symptom 1: Rapid Weight Loss
In general, HIV/AIDS causes you to lose your appetite and have severe vomiting, which cause you to lose weight. Plus, mouth sores and nausea are culprits that affect your weight.
Typically, those in the late stages of HIV/AIDS experience rapid weight loss.
Symptom 2: Shortness of Breath
Do you have a persistent and dry cough? A shortness of breath? These are signs of a late-stage HIV infection.
The cough and limited breathing may be due to a bacterial pneumonia or pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), and cause pain in your chest.
Symptom 3: Diarrhea
Those with HIV/AIDS suffer from diarrhea, usually because of a gastrointestinal (GI) infection that strikes a damaged immune system.
Bacteria and parasites affect healthy people, but not anywhere near as intense as people with HIV/AIDS. The diarrhea is much more severe, prolonged, and recurrent.
Symptom 4: Mouth Sores
Do you have sores in your mouth? Ones that are not from biting you lip or inside your cheek? They can be painful and cause you to not eat.
According to Colgate, “The most common oral issues for HIV/AIDS individuals are: oral warts, feverblisters, hairy leukoplakia (black hairy tongue), oral thrush and canker sores. Otheroral issues that occur in the mouth are: dry mouth, which can lead to cavities, and difficulty eating and communicating.”
Symptom 5: Fatigue
Do you feel tired on a constant basis? Of course, you are if you are constantly battling HIV/AIDS.
Fatigue takes a toll on your immune system, zaps you of your energy, and tends to get you sick sooner than healthy people.
Symptom 6: Flu-Like Symptoms
About two-four weeks, or up to three months after being infected with HIV, you start to feel like you have the flu. You experience a fever, sore throat, and body aches.
This is referred to as acute retroviral syndrome, or ARS. However, some do not suffer from ARS; they do not feel sick whatsoever.
Symptom 7: Recurrent Infections
HIV/AIDS cause you to have a damaged immune system and make you prone to opportunistic infections, such as Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B and C.
Diabetes and epilepsy are also co-conditions that some HIV/AIDS patients get. Co-conditions are related to the HIV/AIDS, not due to getting older.
Symptom 8: Night Sweats
Night sweats are common for HIV/AIDS patients. They can be mild and infrequent, or severe and drench your clothes and sheets.
Take an aspirin or pain/fever reducer before going to bed. Also, if the night sweats are severe, try anti-HIV drugs.
Symptom 9: Pain
HIV/AIDS patients experience pain, mainly caused by the disease, co-conditions, infections, and medications they take to treat the disease.
Fortunately, the pain is usually treatable and does not complicate your HIV/AIDS disease.
Symptom 10: Nausea/Vomiting
Many people with HIV/AIDS experience nausea, either early on or during later stages of the disease.
According to the AIDS Education and Training Center Program, “Nausea with or without vomiting, and occasionally vomiting without nausea, can occur at any stage of HIV infection. Nausea is a common adverse effect of many antiretroviral (ARV) and other medications, and it often occurs within weeks of starting new medications. In some cases, nausea causes significant discomfort and may interfere with medication adherence. Nausea and vomiting also may be symptoms of a serious complication of ARV therapy, or signs of an opportunistic infection or neoplasm in patients with late-stage AIDS. Clinicians must identify the cause of nausea and vomiting and initiate appropriate treatment.”