Human Immunodeficiency Virus – HIV is a dangerous infection that impairs the immune system of the body and can leave people vulnerable to other infections and diseases, especially if the HIV infection has progressed to its final stage — AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
The estimated overall HIV prevalence rate is approximately 13,1% among the South African population. The total number of people living with HIV was estimated at approximately 7,52 million in 2018.
Alarmingly, about 15 per cent of HIV-positive people in 2015 didn’t even know they had it, the CDC noted. This is partly because the virus initially only produces symptoms that could easily be confused with other health issues if it causes any symptoms at all.
In fact, some people go 10 years or more without having any HIV-related symptoms after contracting the virus. So that is why we felt the need to share these below so that you can have an idea of whats happening.
Early-Stage Symptoms of HIV Infection
Many people — between 40 and 90 per cent — experience flu-like symptoms within two to four weeks after contracting HIV. Known as an acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) or primary HIV infection, these symptoms are the body’s natural response to the HIV infection.
- Fever (the most common symptom)
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, and groin area (swollen glands)
- Sore throat
- Mouth sores, including thrush (an oral yeast infection)
- Various types of rashes
- Aches and pains in the muscles and joints
- Night sweats
Some people describe ARS as the “worst flu ever,” according to HIV.gov. During this very early period, HIV infection may not be detected by testing. This is because most HIV tests look for antibodies rather than the virus itself (the proteins your body generates in reaction to the presence of a virus), but it can take a few weeks for these antibodies to be produced. Most rapid tests and home tests are antibody tests.
People who have contracted the virus are highly infectious at this early stage, even if they show no symptoms because the levels of HIV in their blood are extremely high. So it is best to avoid these people by all means.
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