Many people do not develop symptoms after getting infected with HIV. Some people have a flu-like illness within several days to weeks after exposure to the virus. They complain of fever, headache, tiredness, and enlarged lymph glands in the neck. These symptoms usually disappear on their own within a few weeks.
- Following initial infection, you may have no symptoms. The progression of disease varies widely among individuals. This state may last from a few months to more than 10 years.
- During this period, the virus continues to multiply actively and infects and kills the cells of the immune system. The immune system allows us to fight against the bacteria, viruses, and other infectious causes.
- The virus destroys the cells that are the primary infection fighters, called CD4+ or T4 cells.
- Once the immune system weakens, a person infected with HIV can develop the following symptoms:
- Lack of energy
- Weight loss
- Frequent fevers and sweats
- Persistent or frequent yeast infections
- Persistent skin rashes or flaky skin
- Short-term memory loss
- Mouth, genital, or anal sores from herpes infections.
- People with AIDS are prone to develop various cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma,cervical cancer, and cancers of the immune system known as lymphomas. Kaposi sarcoma causes round, brown, reddish or purple spots that develop in the skin or in the mouth. After the diagnosis of AIDS is made, the average survival time has been estimated to be 2-3 years.The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that infects cells of the immune system, destroying or impairing their function. As the infection progresses, the immune system becomes weaker, and the person becomes more susceptible to infections. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It can take 10-15 years for an HIV-infected person to develop AIDS; antiretroviral drugs can slow down the process even further.
HIV is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse (anal or vaginal), transfusion of contaminated blood, sharing of contaminated needles, and between a mother and her infant during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.