eg. What are ways to avoid getting all types of STD?

HIV Symptoms

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) weakens the body’s immune system, making it vulnerable to disease and infection. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 1.2 million people have HIV in the United States. The good news is, the rate of new cases has decreased 19% in the last decade. Like other sexually transmitted diseases, HIV can be transmitted by vaginal and anal sex. It is less frequently transmitted through oral sex, though it is more likely if ejaculation occurs in the mouth when oral sores or bleeding gums are present. It can also be transmitted by sharing syringes and from mothers to children during childbirth.

Common Symptoms of HIV

HIV symptoms change over time. In some cases, those infected with HIV experience flu-like symptoms in the first 2-4 weeks after exposure. However, not everyone experiences symptoms during this phase. Initial symptoms can include:

  • Aches and pains
  • Fatigue
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Nausea
  • Night sweats
  • Rashes
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes

In some cases, HIV symptoms do not appear for many years. Symptoms that appear in later years include:

  • Chronic coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mild infections
  • Rashes or lesions on the skin
  • Weight loss

While antiretroviral therapies have been developed to slow the progress of the disease, when the virus load increases, those with HIV develop Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The symptoms of AIDS include:

  • Cancer of various types
  • Dementia
  • Fatigue
  • Fungal infections
  • Gingivitis or mouth sores
  • Joint pain
  • Oral thrush (white lesions in the mouth)

Health Complications

There is no cure for HIV or AIDS, however treatment can help with quality of life and life expectancy. If left untreated, HIV will develop into AIDS. If AIDS is left untreated, the life expectancy is about three years. AIDS is fatal due to the body’s weakened immune system, which leaves the body susceptible to a variety of infections such as tuberculosis, liver disease, meningitis, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. If you participate in behaviors that increase your risk of transmission, such has having multiple sexual partners or sharing syringes, it is important to be tested regularly and communicate with partners about your status.

Back to STD Symptoms

Last updated on April 17th, 2016

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