The 3 stages of HIV
The signs of HIV infection vary from person to person. Others don’t show any symptoms for many years.
If left untreated, HIV can advance or progress in different stages which can cause more harm and damage to the immune system.
You may wonder what are the stages of HIV progression?
The stages include:
1. Acute primary infection
If you contract HIV, you may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, night sweats, swollen lymph nodes, or skin rash within a few days to a few weeks. That’s called the acute primary infection.
The virus spreads rapidly inside your body during this period. Many HIV transmissions occur during primary infections, and for two reasons.
Firstly, those infected often aren’t even aware that they are infected with HIV and continue to have unprotected sex, especially within stable relationships.
Secondly, the viral load in the blood and sperm is very high at that time. This increases the risk of infection for sexual partners.
These symptoms manifest to different degrees and usually lasts between three and 10 days, sometimes longer. The infected person remains particularly contagious for several weeks, even when the symptoms have disappeared.
If you experience flu like symptoms after unprotected sex, see a doctor immediately to discuss a possible HIV infection. And if necessary, be tested for HIV not only for yourself, but for your sex partner too.
It’s the only way to prevent new infections. And begin treatment right away if necessary.
Safer Sex protects not only against HIV but against other sexually transmitted infections. That means always use a condom during sexual intercourse. Make sure you remember to practice safe sex until you know whether you’ve been infected. This goes for stable relationships as well.
2. The asymptomatic stage
Once someone has gone through the acute primary stages, they enter a phase where they begin to feel better and show no symptoms at all despite HIV still being in their body. This can last up to 10 t0 15 years.
It is important to note that HIV is still active in the body damaging the body’s immune system of an infected person and HIV can still be passed at this stage.
3. Symptomatic HIV infection
During this stage, the immune system of a person infected with HIV is severely damaged making the person more likely to get opportunistic infections.
At this stage, a person can experience symptoms such as extreme weight loss, chronic diarrhea, night sweats, fever, persistent cough, mouth and skin problems, regular infections, and serious illness or disease.
It is during this stage that one can advance to AIDS. If you have AIDS, you should get into treatment as soon as possible.
The only way to know you have HIV is through testing. If you test positive for HIV, start treatment early. This is better for your health and you will live a long and healthy life just like someone who doesn’t have HIV.