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HIV is a serious health issue that requires immediate medical attention. The impact may be different if you are aware about the early signs that you have contracted HIV. If the HIV infection is detected early, you have better chances to control the virus and most likely the progression into AIDS can be delayed. Symptoms of HIV may be different from one person to another. At the beginning, the infected person can have common flu-like symptoms. It can be misinterpreted as gastrointestinal or respiratory infection. This early stage of the infection is called acute retroviral syndrome (ARS).
An early indication of ARS would be a mild to high fever. Oftentimes, the patient will also experience sore throat, fatigue and swollen lymph glands. The virus will start to go to the blood stream and reproduce. At this stage, the immune system is already affected.
If you have doubts that your skin rashes are no longer caused by ordinary allergies or colds, and you fear you might have contracted HIV, you better start getting medical attention. It is not only during the early course of HIV/AIDS that you can have skin rashes, they can also occur at the later stage of HIV. These itchy rashes can manifest as something that look like boils on the arms and on the trunk of your body. If you cannot determine the cause of your rashes that has been bothering you for quite some time already, you may want to consider asking help from health professional or better yet, get an HIV test.
Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea
About 30% to 60% of HIV patients experience diarrhea, vomiting and nausea at the beginning. The same can happen for those undergoing anti-retroviral therapy. An opportunistic infection will exhibit the same result later on. An HIV infection may also be indicated by recurring diarrhea that cannot be alleviated with any customary therapy.
HIV infection can indeed result to weight loss and it is even regarded once as “AIDS wasting”. The weight loss can also be an indication of other more serious health problems and as a result of unrelenting diarrhea. A fairly depleted immune system is a clear validation of your unexplained weight loss. Although this still happens to most patients, the number of cases have decreased because of modern treatments particularly anti-retroviral therapy.
Under normal circumstances, you can dismiss dry cough as bad allergies. However, if the dry cough has lingered longer than you can handle, and when antibiotics, Benadryl, inhalers or even allergists cannot make you feel better, then it is time you get medical attention. Prolonged dry cough of this type is one of the typical signs that you have contracted HIV.
Once you contracted the HIV virus, you are most likely to experience night sweats. This case is apparent at the early stage of the infection and will be even more obvious later on. This is under the assumption that the sweating is not related to any strenuous activity or hot environment.
The thickening and curving of the nails is called clubbing. In addition to splitting of the nails and discoloration (when vertical or horizontal black or brown lines are visible on the nails), these nail changes are clear signs that you have contracted HIV.
Do not dismiss those white patches on your tongue or any part inside the mouth as a normal fungal infection. It could be a case of thrush, a mouth infection caused by Candida. This yeast infection is a sign you may have HIV infection.
Cold Sores or Genital Herpes
You can have oral and genital herpes at the early and later stage of HIV infection. As HIV virus weakens the immune system, herpes outbreaks continue to increase.
Tingling and Weakness
Another indication of HIV infection is numbness of the hands and feet. The tingling and weakness sensation is called peripheral neuropathy.