The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a sexually transmitted infection that attacks your immune system, thus compromising your body’s ability to fight disease. It’s quite prevalent in African countries such as Ghana, where the national prevalence of HIV is at 2.4%. Luckily, with medication, most of the effects of HIV are subdued, and patients can live a long and healthy life.
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However, medication is only effective if HIV treatment begins early. To ensure that you can catch HIV early, you should always be on the lookout for any symptoms of the virus. There are different stages of the virus, with different symptoms at each stage. Though symptoms may vary from person to person, here are a few common ones to keep in mind.
Read More: HIV and AIDS Overview
Read More: Signs and Symptoms of HIV and AIDS
Acute HIV Infection
This is the first stage, beginning two to four weeks after the virus enters your body. Most symptoms at this stage are flu-like and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks:
- Aching Muscles
- Sore Throat
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
Not everyone will experience symptoms at this stage. Roughly 70% of HIV infected people will feel experience symptoms in stage 1.
Clinical Latent Infection
At this stage, the virus begins to spread slowly. At this stage, patients are likely to experience:
- Weight Loss
However, eventually, the flu-like symptoms go away, and most HIV infected people do not show any signs of carrying the disease. Yet they can still transmit it to other people. If the virus remains untreated, this stage can last for up to 15 years. However, it can also progress onto the next stage quicker than this.
This is the last stage of the virus. It’s the point where the virus completely weakens your body’s immune system and progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Symptoms of this stage include:
- Weight Loss
- Extreme Tiredness
- Prolonged Swelling Of Lymph Glands
- Persistent Diarrhoea
- Memory Loss
- Night Sweats
- White Spots On Your Tongue
Importance of detecting symptoms
The latency period of HIV makes it extremely important to spot the symptoms in stage 1. During stage 2, more often than not, no symptoms appear, and if you wait till stage 3 to get treatment, you may be too late.
The safest option is to take precautionary measures. Make sure to take part in awareness campaigns that your local government or NGOs may be organizing. These are great ways to make yourself more aware of how you can protect yourself.
A recent report found that rates of HIV in pregnant women in Ghana declined after they attended an antenatal clinic. It’s important to keep yourself aware in order to protect yourself from any possible way of transmission and get tested for HIV regularly.
Read More: HIV Treatment