HIV symptoms in men and women start with coughing, headache, sore throat, etc. With the passage of time, the symptoms become severe and lead to Aids, a disease that occurs at the very final stage of infection.
HIV is a kind of virus that attacks the immune system of the body. It destroys the white blood cells present in the body, especially a type known as T-helper cell. HIV virus damages the T-helper cells, also called CD4 cells and gradually destroy the immune system of the body. A patient with a weak immune system will find it difficult to fight off infections and diseases. The symptoms of HIV in men and women vary depending on the gender, age, health, and background. Here, we will discuss the each of the symptoms in brief –
Symptoms of HIV in Men
The symptoms of HIV in men vary greatly. No two people with HIV can experience exactly the same symptoms. However, in men, an HIV infection generally follows the following pattern – Acute illness, Asymptomatic period and Advanced infection.
Acute HIV Infection – Irrespective of men or women, approximately 80 percent of people who are suffering from HIV, experience common flu like symptoms within two to four weeks of becoming infected. This condition is known as Acute HIV infection. The common HIV symptoms in men include – Body rashes, High Fever, Excessive headache, Sore throat, Muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, joint pain, and vomiting.
Asymptomatic period – After the initial symptoms start disappearing, HIV virus may not cause any other symptoms for months. However, in the meantime, the virus tends to replicate within the body and can weaken the immune system. In this, men do not feel or look sick, but the virus becomes active and can easily be transmitted to others. Therefore, it is highly suggested to get an early testing done even if one feels fine and healthy.
Advanced Infection – Advanced Infection caused by the HIV virus in men may take some time, but eventually destroys the immune system. This is the last stage of infection and can cause AIDS. In this condition, some of the advanced HIV symptoms in men include – rapid loss of weight, recurring fever, chills and night sweats, prolonged swelling of the lymph nodes in and around the neck, armpit and groin, memory loss and neurological disorders.
Symptoms of HIV in Women
In the initial stage, flu like symptoms including high fever, headache and lack of energy- occur in both men and women. Some other symptoms of HIV that exclusively occurs in women are –
Menstrual Changes – Women suffering from HIV infection experience sudden changes in their menstrual cycle. The flow of blood may be lighter or heavier than the normal, or one may not experience period at all. She may also suffer from severe premenstrual symptoms.
Bacterial and Yeast infection – Women who are HIV positive are more prone to bacterial and yeast infection than men.
Sexually transmitted Infections (STIs) – HIV in women also increases the risk of getting STIs, such as – Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Trichomonas, and Human Papillomavirus- which leads to genital warts or cervical cancer in women.
PID or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – PID is a type of infection that occurs in the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.