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The Stages of HIV Infection!

Dr. Ketan Ranpariya 97% (1757 ratings)
MBBS, PG Diploma (HIV Medicines)
HIV Specialist, Surat  •  11 years experience
The Stages of HIV Infection!

A report shared by the UNAIDS in 2017 shows, that new HIV infection cases in India have fallen to 80,000 in 2016 from 150,0 00 in 2005. Still, India recorded a number of 2.1 million people living with HIV at the end of 2016. Even though the number of new infections has declined, still AIDS has claimed 62,000 deaths till 2016. 

HIV or the human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus which causes HIV infection and leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. The symptoms of HIV vary from person to person and there are three main stages of HIV infection, where each stage has different symptoms.

Here are some facts about the three stages of HIV infection along with the accompanying symptoms.

Acute HIV infection stage: This is the first stage of HIV infection and after three to four weeks of getting infected with HIV, people experience symptoms, which are similar to flu. The flu usually does not last more than two weeks.

Symptoms include:

  1. Fever
  2. Rashes on the body
  3. A sore throat
  4. Swelling of different glands
  5. Headache
  6. Joint and muscle pain
  7. Improper digestion

These symptoms appear and indicate that the body is reacting to the HIV infection. Infected cells circulate throughout the blood, and the immune system produces HIV antibodies in order to attack the virus. This process is termed as seroconversion, and it takes place within 45 days of getting infected. The levels of virus in your blood is quite high during this stage.

Clinical Latency Stage
This is the second stage of HIV infection, which follows the early stage. This stage is also known as chronic HIV stage. During this stage, HIV is active but is reproduced at a very low rate. People in this stage may not show symptoms related to HIV or may get mild indications.

In case of people who do not take medicines for HIV treatment, this stage can last for a longer period of time. Some people, however, progress faster through this stage. Medication must be taken as per the schedule, in order to, keep the virus in check. During this stage, people can transmit HIV to others very easily in spite of not experiencing any symptoms. People who are on medication stay suppressed virally and have a low level of HIV in their blood, and the risk of transmission is less.

Symptomatic HIV infection or AIDS stage
This is the third stage of HIV infection, which is characterized by severe damage to the immune system of an HIV affected person. A patient is likely to suffer from serious infections and gets bacterial or fungal diseases. The infections are termed as opportunistic infections. The patient is now said to be suffering from AIDS.

The symptoms at this stage are:

  1. Loss of weight
  2. Diarrhoea
  3. Sweating at night
  4. Fever and persistent coughing
  5. Problem in the mouth and skin
  6. Infections on a regular basis
  7. Illness and development of other diseases.

HIV infection affects the body via three stages and leads to AIDS in the third stage. Each stage is accompanied by several symptoms. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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