What is HIV and how is it transmitted?
HIV is transmitted from person-to-person from contact with infected blood, semen and/or vaginal fluid. Having unprotected sex vaginal or anal sex (or oral sex if you have a cut or open sore in your mouth) with an infected partner greatly increases the risk of contracting HIV. HIV can also be transmitted via unsterile drug use, from using infected needles, syringes or drug equipment.
Are HIV and AIDS the same?
No, HIV and AIDS are not the same. HIV can lead to the development of AIDS. AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection when an individual’s immune system is severely damaged and lacks the ability to fight off diseases and infections. Many people with HIV benefit from powerful medications used to treat the viral infection. These medications are designed to slow down the destruction of the immune system, improve the health of those with HIV and reduce their ability to transmit the virus to others.
HIV symptoms in men
HIV symptoms will vary from case to case, but the following are the most common patterns HIV infections follow.
Upon infection, it may take individuals with HIV 2-4 weeks to exhibit symptoms. Often these symptoms are mistaken for a common cold or flu, rather than HIV. Approximately 80 percent of individuals with an acute HIV infection will experience flu-like symptoms. That being said, sometimes it can take years for symptoms to appear. This is why it is so important for you and your partner to always get tested before beginning a new sexual relationship. Getting tested for HIV helps individuals seek needed treatment sooner and helps to stop the spread of the virus to others.
There are varying symptoms of HIV in men depending upon the stage of the disease they are in: Acute HIV stage (new infection stage); asymptomatic stage; and the latest, advanced stage known as AIDS.
Acute HIV symptoms in men
The most common HIV symptoms in men in this stage include:
- Body rash
- Sore throat
- Severe headaches
Less common HIV symptoms in men in this stage include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Ulcers in the mouth
- Ulcers on the genitals
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches and joint pain
During the acute HIV stage, symptoms most often last one to two weeks.
Asymptomatic stage of HIV in men
Upon the aforementioned symptoms disappearing is when the asymptomatic period of HIV begins. During this stage, an individual with HIV does not exhibit any signs or symptoms of infection. HIV may not cause any more symptoms for months or years, but at this point the virus is still replicating and is starting to break down the body’s immune system by attacking important immune cells. The virus is still active during this stage and can still be transmitted to others, which is why it is important to get tested for HIV even if you do not feel ill.
Advanced stage of HIV symptoms; AIDS
Without treatment, it may take a matter of months or years for HIV to weaken the immune system beyond repair. This progression of HIV is referred to as AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. This last stage of infection means that the body’s immune system is severely damaged, leaving it more susceptible to other infections that it would otherwise be able to fight off if it were not compromised and damaged. It is not uncommon for individuals with AIDS to frequently get colds, flus or fungal infections.
Symptoms men with AIDS may experience include:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Rapid weight loss
- Sores or ulcers in the mouth
- Sores or ulcers on the genitals
- Recurring fever
- Recurring chills
- Recurring night sweats
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent or prolonged swelling of the lymph nodes
- Memory loss, confusion or neurological disorders
Getting tested for HIV is the only way to know for sure whether or not you have contracted HIV. The CDC recommends getting tested at least annually, but it is important to get tested anytime you suspect you could have contracted HIV or have been involved in high-risk sexual activity or drug use. Learn your status today; get tested
EMERGENCY HIV TREATMENT (PEP) FACT SHEET
Do you think you have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours?
If yes, you may be able to get treatment to prevent HIV infection.
Post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, is another name for emergency HIV treatment. PEP is not a cure for HIV, it is a form of HIV prevention. It is a short course of antiretroviral drugs that stops exposure to HIV from becoming a life-long infection.
- PEP can cause side effects such as nausea and fatigue. DO NOT stop taking PEP – talk to your healthcare professional.
- PEP must be taken as soon as possible to be effective and no later than 72 hours after exposure to HIV.
- PEP must be taken at the same time every day for 4 weeks.
Where to get PEP?
If you think that you have been exposed to HIV visit a Dr Rahman Sexual Health clinic – Chennai