Since the first patient of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was discovered, the virus has stuck around with its troubles and all. It had threatened to be the end of humanity, but medical experts and researchers found a way to manage its spread. Today, the scientific and medical world can boast that through their dedicated study of the virus, they have found ways to prevent it from getting into the human system and ways to suppress its activity if it does.
It is of utmost importance to know the warning signs you should look out for when it comes to the transmission of HIV, and will not only enlighten you but also help you stay updated on everything you need to know about HIV. These early symptoms can also help you know when to go for an HIV test. This is because HIV, which is detected in its early stage, is easier to manage.
Here are some advantages of early detection of HIV.
Advantages of Early detection of HIV
- It aids in easier management of the virus.
- It helps to ensure the early treatment to control the virus.
- It prevents the progression of the virus into stage 3 HIV, known as AIDS.
- If there’s early detection, then there will be early treatment using antirétroviral drugs, and thus preventing transmission of the virus to other people.
Let’s take a look at the warning signs of HIV you should know.
Early Symptoms/Warning Signs of HIV you must know
The early symptoms of HIV can be detected within one or two months of exposure to the virus. This exposure can happen through;
- Unprotected Sex with infected persons.
- Transfusion of unscreened blood.
- Use of unsterilized equipment which is infected etc.
For some people, these symptoms can be detected two weeks after exposure to the virus, but for some others, they never have these early symptoms. This lack of symptoms can only last as long as 10years. This asymptomatic stage doesn’t mean the virus is gone, and if one has been infected, the virus can progress to stage 3 even though they aren’t exhibiting symptoms. Apart from the fact that you might wave of the early symptoms of HIV as mere flu, the fact that HIV can progress to stage 3 in an asymptomatic patient is a major reason to get tested and not wait on symptoms.
These warning signs, which are also known as early symptoms, might be similar to symptoms of the flu. They include;
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sore throat
- Muscle and joint pain
- Night sweats
- Mouth ulcer
- Ulcers on the genitals
Although the above-listed symptoms are the warning signs to look out for in the case of HIV, you must understand that they are also associated with certain common health conditions and illnesses. The only way one can be sure of their HIV status is by getting an HIV test.
When should you get an HIV test?
Before walking into a laboratory for an HIV test, you must understand that there’s a window period from the time of exposure until the first time the virus shows up in the blood.
Depending on your body, the window period could last from ten days to three months. During this period, an individual’s HIV test might come out negative depending on which test they take. This happens because the viral load isn’t enough to be picked up by the test.
If a person is infected, HIV can be transmitted during this period; therefore, the best time to get tested is right now. Yes, you saw right. Right now is the best time to get tested if you have in one way or another been exposed to the virus. You could already be in the window period or not. But to be on the safer side, visit your health care provider who might suggest a Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) if you have just been exposed to the virus, not up to 3 days. The PEP is a drug taken within 72 hours of exposure to HIV to prevent getting infected.
Some of the ways HIV can be sniffed out in the body include;
- Rapid Kit testing: This involves pricking your finger with a needle in the kitchen and smearing the blood on a clear test pad which helps to detect the HIV antigens.
- Home testing: This involves swabbing your mouth and testing the oral swab with a home test kit.
- Laboratory testing: This involves using the Elisa assay principle to detect HIV antigens and antibodies in the blood.
Amongst other forms of treatment, HIV can be treated with the use of custom monoclonal antibody production. These new antibodies produced specifically for HIV antigens will, in turn, fight the disease.
Therefore, in order not to waste your time and money on several tests, you could visit a health care provider to help you choose which test is best for you. Staying updated on issues regarding HIV will help you know how to manage different HIV cases.