Can You Have Hiv And Not Know It – Although there is no cure for HIV, early detection and effective treatment can enable a person living with HIV to lead a normal life. However, if HIV is left untreated, it can progress through four serious stages. Therefore, it is important to get tested for HIV if you are concerned that you may be at risk.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks a person’s immune system, affecting their ability to fight disease and infection. Therefore, without treatment, HIV can be life-threatening. Early signs and symptoms of HIV vary from person to person and can easily be mistaken for other diseases. Regular HIV testing can help reduce the long-term health effects of HIV.

Can You Have Hiv And Not Know It

Can You Have Hiv And Not Know It

If left untreated, HIV typically progresses through four stages. With access to treatment, most people living with HIV stay healthy and never experience end-stage disease. This depends on how early HIV is detected and how well a person responds to treatment, along with other lifestyle factors.

Hiv And Aids

The initial phase of infection lasts only a few weeks, during which a person may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, sore throat or muscle aches. About one in five people have enough to see a doctor, but it’s rare for them to be diagnosed with HIV alone.

At this stage, the immune system begins to respond to the virus by producing HIV antibodies and cytotoxic lymphocytes – a process known as seroconversion. A third-generation HIV test performed before this process is completed may be negative or inconclusive.

Aside from swollen glands, a person is mostly asymptomatic at this stage and often begins to feel better. On average, this asymptomatic phase lasts about ten years, but can last up to 15 years. HIV antibodies can now be detected in the blood, so an HIV test will give a positive result.

During this time HIV is active within the lymph nodes, infecting new cells and making copies of itself. A viral load test measures small amounts of HIV from lymph nodes. This information is very important in HIV treatment.

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HIV can seriously damage the immune system over the years. Lymph nodes and tissues are damaged or destroyed. As HIV infection becomes stronger and more diverse, the body cannot continue to replace lost T-helper cells.

Symptoms develop when the immune system fails and may include weight loss, chronic diarrhea, night sweats, and fever. Symptoms worsen when the immune system begins to slow down. This is the time when infections known as “opportunistic” infections and cancers can occur.

As the immune system becomes more damaged and the frequency and severity of illnesses increases, an AIDS diagnosis is given. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. The body’s ability to fight infection and disease is very weak due to a compromised immune system.

Can You Have Hiv And Not Know It

Whether you test for HIV on its own or as part of a screen for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is entirely up to you. Testing for several STIs provides a more complete picture of your current sexual health.

National Hiv Testing Day

Depending on how much time has passed since your last incident of concern, different HIV tests are offered that can be taken at different times.

As part of the screen, you may decide to test for HIV in combination with other STIs. Testing for a wide range of infections, our screens are designed to give you complete peace of mind around your sexual health.

If you want to get tested for HIV, we can help. We can arrange a confidential appointment at one of our nationwide clinics or you can test yourself at home using one of our home test kits. Our highly trained team of sexual health advisors are available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or you can send us a message using our live web chat. Talk to us in confidence. Medically reviewed by Cameron White, M.D., MPH — Ann Pietrangelo and Kristeen Cherney — Updated June 30, 2023

HIV destroys CD4 cells, which are responsible for keeping people healthy and protecting them from disease and infection. As HIV gradually weakens the body’s natural defenses, signs and symptoms may occur.

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HIV targets the type of cells that normally fight off an invader, such as HIV. As the virus replicates, it destroys or destroys the infected CD4 cell and produces more virus to infect more CD4 cells. CD4 cells are also called T cells or helper cells.

Without treatment, this cycle can continue until the immune system is severely compromised, putting a person at risk for serious illnesses and infections.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the final stage of HIV. At this stage, immunity is significantly weakened and the risk of catching opportunistic infections is very high.

Can You Have Hiv And Not Know It

However, not everyone who is infected with HIV will develop AIDS. The earlier a person receives treatment, the better the outcome.

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The immune system prevents the body from acquiring diseases and infections. White blood cells protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and other organisms that can make a person sick.

A few days after contracting the virus, a person infected with HIV may experience a flu-like illness that lasts for several weeks. It is associated with the first stage of HIV, called the acute infection stage or acute HIV.

An HIV-positive person may not have serious symptoms at this stage, but because the virus is rapidly replicating, they usually have large amounts of the virus in their blood.

The next stage is called the chronic infection stage. It lasts for 10 to 15 years. A person who is HIV positive may or may not show symptoms at this stage.

Hiv & Aids.

Another possible complication is Kaposi’s sarcoma, a cancer that forms in the walls of blood vessels. It is rare in the general population, but more common in people with HIV.

Symptoms include red or dark purple lesions in the mouth and skin. It can also cause problems in the lungs, digestive tract and other internal organs.

Both HIV and AIDS increase a person’s risk of developing lymphomas. The first symptom of lymphoma is swollen lymph nodes.

Can You Have Hiv And Not Know It

HIV makes it harder to fight off respiratory problems like colds and flu. In turn, a person who is HIV positive can develop associated infections such as pneumonia.

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Without treatment for HIV, an HIV-positive person is at increased risk of developing infectious complications such as tuberculosis and a fungal infection called Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PJP).

The risk of lung cancer increases with HIV. This is due to weakened lungs due to several respiratory problems associated with a weakened immune system.

People with HIV are more likely to develop high blood pressure. HIV also increases the risk of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). PAH is high blood pressure in the arteries that supply blood to the lungs. Over time, PAH can strain the heart and lead to heart failure.

TB is an airborne bacteria that infects the lungs. It is a leading cause of death in people with AIDS. Symptoms include chest pain and a bad cough that may contain blood or sputum. The cough lasts for months.

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Because HIV affects the immune system, infections that affect the digestive system make the body more vulnerable.

Gastrointestinal problems can reduce appetite and make it difficult to eat properly. As a result, weight loss is a common side effect of HIV.

A common infection associated with HIV is oral thrush, a fungal infection that causes swelling and white patches on the tongue and inside the mouth.

Can You Have Hiv And Not Know It

Another viral infection that affects the mouth is oral hairy leukoplakia, which causes white lesions on the tongue.

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Salmonella infection is spread through contaminated food or water, causing diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Anyone can get it

This infection affects the bile ducts and intestines and can be particularly severe. It can cause chronic diarrhea in AIDS patients.

Although HIV does not usually directly affect nerve cells, it supports and affects the surrounding tissues in the brain and throughout the body.

Although the link between HIV and neurological damage is not fully understood, infected support cells may contribute to nerve injury.

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Advanced HIV can cause nerve damage, also known as neuropathy. It usually causes pain and numbness in the legs and arms.

Small holes in the conduction sheaths of peripheral nerve fibers can cause pain, weakness, and difficulty walking. This condition is called vacuolar myelopathy.

The neurological complications of AIDS are enormous. Both HIV and AIDS can cause HIV-related dementia, a condition that severely affects cognitive function.

Can You Have Hiv And Not Know It

People with AIDS are more susceptible to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord caused by this parasite because of their weakened immune system. Symptoms include confusion, headache, and seizures. Seizures can also be caused by certain infections of the nervous system.

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In more advanced cases, hallucinations and frank psychosis may occur. Some people may also experience headaches, balance or coordination problems, and vision problems.

A weakened immune response makes a person more vulnerable to viruses

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