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Most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are asymptomatic, which means that they do not show any signs or symptoms. This factor is one of the many reasons why most people are not aware that they already have some type of STD. People, especially those who are sexually active, do not notice any symptom that may be related to STD.
Because of the lack of symptoms during the early stages, those who are infected with STD tend to receive treatment when it is already too late. The infection has already worsened, which makes it difficult to control or cure. Some STDs such as HIV have no cure. However, early detection can help patients manage the disease better.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a type of lentivirus that usually takes an extended period of incubation. It hosts mainly in mammals and humans. HIV is responsible attacking the body’s immune system; making is too weak and vulnerable to different diseases and illnesses.
How Does HIV Spread?
Contrary to popular belief, you can get infected with HIV through:
- Sex. Sexual intercourse – oral, rectal, or genital, is the number one mode of transmission of HIV. Having sex without using a condom increases your risk for contracting HIV. Also, sharing unwashed or unclean sex toys with someone who is HIV-positive can also infect you.
- Perinatal method. HIV can also infect an unborn child or an infant if the mother is already HIV-positive during her pregnancy. The mother can also transfer the virus to her infant through breastfeeding.
- Blood. Developed countries are less likely to transmit HIV through a blood transfusion because of the available blood screening processes and safety precautions. However, those who share and reuse needles and syringes with the blood from an HIV-positive person are sure to get infected.
What are the Hidden Signs of HIV?
In a span of one month after HIV enters the body, those who are infected may notice signs and symptoms that are similar to the flu. It is also almost impossible to detect early as it does not show any unusual symptoms.
Since early detection is essential for HIV-positive patients, these are the hidden signs that those who are at risk of getting infected should watch out for:
- Fever. Fever is one of the most common symptoms that most HIV-positive patients experience. However, since it is similar to the flu, it is often treated using home remedies and over-the-counter drugs. HIV is the last thing people think about when they have a fever.
- Fatigue. Shortness of breath and the feeling of tiredness are also some signs of HIV. Some HIV-positive patients recalled the sense of fatigue when they are merely walking or climbing up a short staircase.
- Body pain. Symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, joint pain, and aching muscles are also some indicators that you might have HIV. Lymph nodes, which is a part of the immune systems, are inflamed whenever there is an infection. They are located in the neck, groin, and armpits.
- Skin rashes. Most skin rashes occur in the late stages of HIV/AIDS. However, they can also appear during its early stages, but they are often attributed to a different type of disease. Rashes may look like boils and pinkish lesions that are itchy. These skin rashes usually appear on the torso and arms.
- Weight loss. If you are drastically losing weight and you have no idea why it might be because your HIV/AIDS is already in its late stages. Severe weight loss indicates that your immune system is already depleted.
- Pneumonia. Since your immune system is already weak because of HIV, you are vulnerable to other diseases. Infectious diseases such as pneumonia will further weaken the body and your immune system.
- Fungal infections. When you have a weak immune system, you are also prone to different fungal infections. You might see changes in your nails such as the condition called clubbing, nail splitting, and discoloration. You may also be prone to yeast infections.
- Difficulty in concentrating. If you notice that you experience confusion or you have trouble focusing, these symptoms might be due to dementia related to HIV. You may experience irritability, memory problems, lack of coordination, clumsiness, and cognitive issues.
If you notice these signs, you may want to have yourself tested, especially if you are sexually active. When it comes to HIV, you need to detect it as early as possible to prevent it from developing to HIV/AIDS. There is nothing wrong with being too careful. One STD test is all it takes to know whether you are HIV-positive or not.