According to statistics, about 36 million people worldwide live with HIV/AIDS. More than 1.1 million of them live in the US. One in each seven HIV sufferers doesn’t even know about it.
Immunodeficiency virus was firstly found in the chimpanzees. With time it has mutated to the human immunodeficiency virus. In the late 1970s it began to affect African people, and nowadays it’s widespread all over the world.
If left untreated, HIV brings to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which is known as the last stage of the HIV infection.
Person may get this virus with contaminated blood, semen, breast milk, vaginal or rectal fluids.
When virus enters human body, it begins to incorporate into the DNA and destroy CD4 immune cells. As a result, the organism loses ability to fight off diseases and infections.
Fortunately, scientists have made a great progress in studying HIV and the ways to cope with it. Despite numerous investigations, we can’t eliminate virus from the body. But we’re able to delay its progression and keep the disease in the latent stage.
Those, who take antiretroviral therapy properly, may live as long as uninfected people.
The problem is that HIV doesn’t cause any symptoms at the early stages.
Sometimes people experience flu-like symptoms within two to four weeks after the moment, when virus penetrated into the body (it is medically called acute retroviral syndrome). When the first stage is over, disease runs into the dormant stage (clinical latency).
During this period virus still continues to propagate. Without treatment HIV progresses, passing into the AIDS in the course of several years.
So how can you detect this illness in yourself? Here are the warning signs of immunodeficiency:
#1 Low-degree fever – increased body temperature is a normal response of your immune system to infection. Mild fever, which lasts for a long time, usually means that your immune system is affected.
#2 Night sweats – women often experience this symptom during menopause. However sometimes night sweats may be a sign of immunodeficiency.
#3 Swollen glands – lymph nodes represent an important part of your immune system. When HIV attacks your body, immune system activates all protective mechanisms. That usually results in enlargement of the lymph nodes, located in the neck, groin and armpits.
#4 Fatigue – it’s not about your after-sport tiredness. Constant inexplicable fatigue and lack of energy may be a sign of numerous disorders, including HIV infection.
#5 New rashes –people with immunodeficiency are dramatically sensitive to the action of the the sunrays and various irritants. That’s why they frequently notice appearance of new lesions, bumps and patches in the skin.
#6 Achy muscles and joints – maybe you’re familiar with these flu symptoms. As you remember, acute retroviral syndrome is commonly felt like a common cold or flu, with their muscle soreness and painful sensations in the joints.
#7 Changes in menstruation – menstrual cycle is one of the most changeable things in woman’s body. HIV can make your periods irregular, too heavy or absent. It can also make your PMS more severe than ever in your life.
#8 Sores – pay attention on the new sores in the mouth and genital area, especially if they don’t heal, as it may be a sign of HIV infection.
#9 Yeast infection – HIV-positive women are more likely to have vaginal candidiasis and mouth thrush. It may be also difficult to get rid of the fungus, if having problems with immune system.
All of these symptoms may develop as a result of other conditions. However it’s worth getting tested, in order to know your HIV-status, especially if you had risky events earlier.
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