Everything you need to know about HIV

HIV is a virus commonly known as a cause for AIDS, which happens in advanced and final stage of HIV infection. If the person is infected with this virus that means that he or she is HIV positive. This infection doesn’t need to present with AIDS symptoms in a short while, but after some time the immunological system gets damaged, causing AIDS to initiate. Treatment and diagnosis is possible, but only in terms of prevention and retardation of the disease’s progress. Currently there is no cure for either HIV or AIDS.

HIV is also known as a retrovirus which attacks T-lymphocytes (CD4 cells) which are a crucial part of human immunological system. There are two main types of the HIV virus – HIV 1 which is spread across the globe and HIV 2 which is exclusive to Africa region.

Generally speaking, HIV virus is of spherical shape, with its outer shell being made out of 2 layers of lipid molecules. On its outer shell you will find small extensions which are proteins containing the outer and inner shell. The bare core of the virus is known as capsid. Main elements found inside the HIV virus are 2 RNA molecules, 3 enzymes and proteins which are necessary for the virus to replicate. Being a retrovirus, HIV has several steps in terms of viral replication and the anti-retrovirus therapy is designed so that particular replication cycles are dealt with. The virus penetrates into a healthy cell with assistance of its glycoprotein GP120 and other specific receptors on the surface of the cell being attacked. This receptor is a molecule of CD4 antigen which contains lymphocyte T4, monocytes and a set of mother cells.

Common symptoms of an HIV infection

About a month or two after HIV infection about 40 to 90 percent of people experience symptoms similar to flu. However, HIV symptoms sometimes stay hidden even years after infection. In an early phase symptoms aren’t even obvious so a lot of people find out rather late that there is an ongoing infection. HIV testing is very important, particularly if you practiced unprotected sex or you switched several partners. Here are some of the most common symptoms which can indicate an HIV infection.


One of the first signs of an HIV infection is when body temperature reaches into the 39°C region. It’s also commonly followed by other symptoms similar to flu such as exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and throat ache. In this phase the virus spreads over blood and begins to replicate in large numbers. When this happens, the high body temperature begins as a reaction of the immunological system on the inflammation.


Inflammation inside the body causes a feeling of lethargy. This can be an early or a late symptom of an HIV infection. A large number of persons who are HIV positive say that exhaustion was experienced even during low intensity strain. Some people experience exhaustion as an early symptom and others after 20 years, so it’s important to test yourself as soon as possible.

Joint and muscle pain; swollen lymph nodes

All of the above may also represent symptoms of flu, mononucleosis, syphilis, hepatitis and other virus infections which doesn’t seem so extreme since all of these body parts are first to respond to an inflammation process. Lymph nodes are an important part of your immunological system and they can get inflamed in case there is an infection present inside your body. A lot of these are located in the armpit area, as well as the neck and loins.

Throat ache and headache

Similarly to the previously mentioned symptoms, throat ache and headache are common and can happen as flu symptoms. If you’ve been practicing a risky sex, HIV testing is definitely a good idea and something very responsible you can do as HIV is most contagious in its early phase. You should also know that tests which are proving presence of antibodies is not entirely reliable as these antibodies in blood begin to formulate only after a couple of weeks or months. If you would like to choose a most reliable form of testing, you should speak to your doctor.

Skin rash

Skin rash can occur as an early symptom of HIV infection, but also years after infections as well. With many persons who are infected with HIV, rash happened on the upper and lower abdomen region. This can easily be confused as an allergic reaction. If the rash doesn’t go away, despite any treatment methods you may take, consider taking an HIV test.

Noxiousness, vomiting, diarrhea

About 30 to 60% of patients have experienced vomiting and diarrhea in early stages of HIV infection. These symptoms can happen as a result of the anti-retrovirus therapy. Diarrhea which lasts for a while and doesn’t react to any type of treatment or medication may be a symptom of HIV infection, so definitely consider taking an HIV test.

Anti-retrovirus therapy is a term which specifies simultaneous usage of three or more different types of anti-HIV medicines.

Loss of weight

Loss of weight indicates an advanced disease and it’s usually accompanied with diarrhea. If you’re losing weight for no apparent reasons, your immunological system is most probably endangered. Some persons who are infected with HIV have lost almost 50% of body weight, despite the equal intake of food. If you lost 10% of your body weight, you’re experiencing diarrhea, feeling weak and have high temperature for more than 30 days, HIV test is inevitable.

Dry coughs

This is one of the symptoms which are first to appear, and patients often replace it with allergy symptoms. If the cough lasts for a while and gets worse over time with no results from the therapy, take an HIV test. Resilient dry cough which lasts for weeks is a symptom which is usually reported with advanced HIV patients so it’s important to react to the cough when it’s not too late.

Menstrual irregularities

Advanced HIV causes menstrual irregularities as well as difficulties such as increased body temperature and weak menstrual bleeding. These irregularities can also be caused by sudden weight loss and weakened immunity.