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Early HIV Signs and Symptoms You shouldn’t Ignore

Recognising the early signs of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) facilitates better detection and treatment.

Early signs of HIV can be missed or confused for other conditions. If you are experiencing symptoms that persist or worsen you should contact the healthcare team for a prompt diagnosis and treatment/management.

The common cold may materialize initially after infection.

Early symptoms of HIV include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Oral yeast infection(s)
  • Mouth ulcer(s)
  • Nausea
  • Aches and pains
  • Enlarged or sore lymph nodes
  • Headaches
  • Fevers

The symptoms are known as a sero-conversion illness and are an early sign of HIV.

(Clinical latency follows the initial infection.)

The signs of HIV initially, are delayed. However, over time the body’s immune system weakens and starts to fail resulting in constant infection(s) and subsequent illness.

Early Symptoms in Men

Symptoms include but vary from one person to the next:

  • Penile Ulcer(s).
  • Pain in the testicles or penis.
  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Chronic prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate).
  • Proctitis (inflammation of the rectum).
  • Pain on ejaculation.
  • Pain on urination
  • Loss of body and/or facial hair

Early Symptoms in Women

Symptoms include but vary:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Period problems
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Thick and white discharge
  • Pain while urinating
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Chronic yeast infection

Early signs appear between 2-6 weeks after transmission of the infection with flu-like symptoms.  (Women can remain symptomless for up to 10 years.)

The severity of infections as a result of a reduced immune system also varies.

Causes of HIV Infection

HIV is spread through sexual intercourse/activity with an infected person and:

  • Shared needles.
  • Infectious blood products.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Childbirth.
  • Breastfeeding.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) destroys T cell-mediated immunity. These blood cells are responsible for destroying bacteria and viruses and over time the weakened immune system is unable to fight life-threatening diseases.

How is HIV spread?

Infection with HIV occurs when bodily fluids during sexually intercourse or when blood products are exchanged.

  • Infection occurs during anal or vaginal sex. (Oral sex carries less of a risk.)
  • Prior to 1985, only two infectious diseases were screened in donated blood therefore large numbers of people unfortunately were subjected to the virus. Blood donations are routinely screen today.
  • The practice of re-using needles by drug addicts has also increased the incidence of HIV.

The use of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) has increased survival rates and dramatically reduces the risk of developing Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome AIDS (late-stage HIV disease that develops when HIV is left untreated). 

Early diagnosis and treatment restores the immune system to something approaching normal activity and reduces infections. 

ART has transformed HIV infection into a chronic disease/condition.

HIV infection increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including: 

  • Acute myocardial infarction.
  • Stroke.
  • Peripheral artery disease. 
  • Heart failure.
  • Sudden cardiac death.

A combination of three or more drugs is given to lessen the possibility of resistance.


Can HIV symptoms materialize in 3 days?

The early signs may be as soon as 3 days after an initial infection with flu-like symptoms which last around 1-2 weeks. It is important to have an STD test if you believe you have been infected with a person known to have HIV as early diagnosis and treatment is extremely important.

How to manage HIV

Our medical team has experience in dealing with the problems associated with HIV and offer discreet confidential testing and analysis to treatment options.

Many haemophiliacs and were given infected blood products as part of their treatment prior to blood screening in the 1980s and 90s. However thousands more were given transfusions using contaminated blood after childbirth, accidents, and emergencies.

Screening, including Hepatitis C began in September 1991 but no process so far stops the use of old, contaminated blood. (It has also been reported that untested and potentially contaminated blood could have been stored for up to 10 years.)

It is important therefore if you have been suffering with constant chronic infections to get tested today, do not wait if you believe you fall into the above category.

Can I have HIV without knowing it?

Yes.  For example: night sweats, fever, aches and pains related to the common cold which pass after 1-2 weeks, but in other instances of infection they may linger longer and increase in severity.

With a comprehensive STD checkup the test results will confirm or refute an infection and, based on the results, treatment options started immediately.

Can I gain or lose weight with HIV?

Not necessarily. The antiretroviral treatment might cause a slight increase in weight. However it is more likely that you will lose weight after repeated infections due to illness and a lack of appetite.

What are the differences between HIV and other STDs?

HIV is an acquired sexually transmitted disease (STD) presenting initially with flu-like symptoms and the person is then afflicted with constant infections increasing in number and severity.

In Conclusion

If you believe you have been exposed to HIV or present with the early symptoms book a same-day HIV test.

We can start ART treatment upon receipt of your results if a positive test is confirmed.

Untreated sexually transmitted diseases can lead to severe illness and death. Take action today!

AIDS develops when HIV is left untreated. 

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