HIV Symptoms – 3 Red Lights That Tell You To Get Tested

AIDS symptoms appear relatively late in an HIV infection. The infection usually doesn’t get diagnosed until it’s full-blown AIDS, because HIV affects the body in a very specific way that causes a wide range of problems.
On the first article in this series I explained the basic structure of the HIV virus and its life cycle, how it enters the body and why it’s so difficult to cure. On this article I’ll explain how it affects the body once it’s already inside.

What makes HIV so scary that we make sure to be aware of it and warn our children about it? How can you recognize HIV symptoms and What are they? How to know if you’re infected? And what makes the HIV virus lethal?

These are all important questions that I believe every sexually mature person should know the answer to.

T Helper Lymphocytes
HIV Symptoms - Traffic regulator

T helper Lymphocytes (A.k.a CD4 cells/TH?cells) are part of the body’s immune system. Arguably, they are the most important part of it. They don’t fight infections themselves, but rather activate the body’s defense systems against various pathogens. They act as a foreman to the rest of the immune system ??they regulate the system’s response. Basically, TH?cells direct other cells to kill infected cells and eliminate pathogens. If the TH?cells are incapacitated, the immune system is never called to action and the body does not fight any hostile pathogens. This creates a situation in which even microbes that are usually harmless can cause serious damage. This situation is called “Anergy”, and it basically means that the immune system can’t utilize its antibodies. I won’t elaborate on the biological methods these cells implement or on their course of action and life cycle because it’s extremely long and complicated, and it’s not essential to this subject.

Location Location Location

The HIV virus infects T helper Lymphocytes almost exclusively. The HIV provirus uses the genetic materials in TH?cells to reproduce and create more HIV retrovirus cells. This takes the infected TH?cell out of commission, leaving the immune system unable to respond. The body has a great army of defensive forces ??but they aren’t issued any commands.

A Grim Outcome

HIV Symptoms - Grim ReaperHIV is not lethal. AIDS is not lethal. In a world with no other infections, HIV wouldn’t bother us at all. The problem is that our world is far from sterility and AIDS makes the body vulnerable to even the most trivial pathogens. This means that if a person has AIDS, nothing bad would happen to them. But if someone with AIDS is exposed to, say, a common cold ??that person’s cause of death would be a fatal case of the common cold. That’s what happens when the body’s defense army sleeps through an attack. The body simply cannot defend itself. This is why, when untreated people with AIDS have a life capacity of approximately five years.

How to Diagnose HIV Symptoms

While it’s possible to divide an HIV infection into many sub-phases, HIV infection goes through 3 major periods:

Acute infection (Acute Retroviral Syndrome – ARS)

ARS is the phase in which the virus multiplies and incubates. Mainly, this is the phase in which a person turns from healthy to infected. The HIV virus is using the T helper lymphocytes to multiply, destroying them in the process. This leads to a very steep plunge in the CD4 cell count, so the disease is already diagnosable in this phase, but only by a specific test. ARS has commonly been described as feeling like the “worst flu ever”. This is the manifestation of the immune system’s combat against HIV before it gets suppressed and before arriving to the “Viral Set Point”, which is a stable level of virus presence in the blood. Once reaching the Viral set point CD4 count begins to increase again, but it may not reach its usual, pre-infection level.?ARS phase HIV infection often gets misdiagnosed as Mononucleosis. People who aren’t in high-risk groups usually don’t get tested for HIV upon displaying the symptoms. They usually appear within ten to fourteen days from the day of exposure. Most people have suffered from all of them, separately or combined, at some point in life:

  • HIV Symptoms - FeverFever
  • Sore Throat
  • Rashes
  • Joint Pains
  • Muscle pains
  • Headaches
  • Swollen Lymph nodes
  • Meningitis (Occurs in only about a fifth of the patients and usually heals without complications)

Women may also manifest the following symptoms:

  • Reoccurring vaginal infections caused by candida and without clear etiology (such as taking antibiotics)
  • Reoccurring, large, painful vaginal herpes lesions
  • Pre-malignant transitions in the cervical

Clinical Latency (Asymptomatic\Chronic HIV infection)

HIV Symptoms - UnawareIn the clinical latency phase the subject is just a carrier, and would feel entirely normal. No symptoms would appear at all and he\she may keep maintaining a sexually active lifestyle, infecting other sexual partners. Sadly, most carriers aren’t aware of the disease until phase three, and so they spread it, unknowingly. The only symptoms are a slow and steady decrease in CD4 cells, and in about a tenth of carriers, swollen lymph nodes. However, with the decrease of the CD4 cell count (and the closer it gets to 200 cells/mm3), the following diseases will appear more frequently:

  • Skin Infections
  • Mucus Membrane Infections
  • Epstein??arr virus (EBV)
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis outbreaks (Rare)

The clinical latency phase usually lasts for to 8 years and longer If untreated. Usually, 50% of carriers will have full-blown AIDS within ten years, 30% will show minor symptoms of Immunodeficiency and 20% will remain carriers. Younger subjects have a higher chance of staying in the clinical latency phase for longer.

AIDS (has two sub-phases)

Aids is the last period and usually the one in which the HIV infection is detected. In the two previous periods, a specific test had to be taken in order to tell if the subject is infected. In this period, HIV infection is complete and the subject now has AIDS, which is detectable by a blood test. A healthy person has a CD4 count of 500-1600 cells per cubic millimeter. If a person has below 200 CD4 cells/mm3, that person will be diagnosed with AIDS. Having so little CD4 cells, the immune system becomes insufficient to protect the body, and the subject becomes vulnerable to opportunistic infections. If untreated, people with Aids have a life expectancy of about three to five years, but if a dangerous opportunistic infection occurs, the subject’s life expectancy dramatically drops to about one year. The final stage of AIDS occurs when the CD4 count goes below 50 cells/mm3. The immunodeficiency becomes so severe that the subject is chronically sick for no apparent reason. The symptoms are systemic and unexplained and may include:

  • Chronic Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Night Sweating
  • Unwanted weight loss

Red Bulbs and Warning Signs – Preceding?HIV Symptoms

HIV Symptoms - Blood test poster

The symptoms of HIV are usually very common, so it would be unwise to go and get tested for HIV every time they appear. However, there are some conditions in which a person should consider getting tested for HIV. Don’t procrastinate, if any of the following symptoms appear in you, go and get tested immediately!

  1. Reoccurring vaginal infections caused by candida and without clear etiology (such as taking antibiotics)
  2. Reoccurring large, painful herpes lesions on the genitalia
  3. Pre-malignant\malignant transitions in the cervical

Unfortunately (or fortunately) men suffer fewer symptoms than women in the early stages of HIV, that’s why they are also harder to diagnose. That’s why people (both men and women) who lead a sexually active lifestyle should go and get tested for HIV periodically.?Even if you don’t show any of those warning lights but afraid you might be infected, get tested asap.? The test is a simple saliva or blood test, it isn’t very painful and it could save you and the people you love a lot of pain, a lot of sadness and some pre-time deaths. You can even order a?test and check yourself at home. If you have undiagnosed HIV and you’re having unprotected sex, then you have caused terrible agony and killed people who love you against your own will, and that’s the worst thing I can think of to find out about yourself.

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Give all the love you can give and keep those who return it safe.
Itay “SHPECK” Rijensky

HIV Symptoms - 3 Red Lights That Tell You To Get Tested
Article Name
HIV Symptoms - 3 Red Lights That Tell You To Get Tested
An article explaining what HIV does to the body, what are the stages of HIV and the symptoms of each stage and what are the warning signs that should send you to get tested.

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