Early Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
How long does it take to show symptoms of HIV? Some people experience flu-like symptoms at the start of an HIV infection. These early HIV symptoms usually develop within 2-4 weeks in an infected person and may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This early stage of the viral infection is known as an acute HIV infection.
Possible early symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Mouth ulcers
Itâs worth keeping in mind that such early symptoms can also be caused by other health conditionsânot just HIV. In short, if youâre experiencing these symptoms, it doesnât necessarily mean that you have HIVâwhich is why STI testing and consulting with your healthcare provider can be helpful next steps to take.
Factors That Contribute To Hiv
As the studies above suggest, fatigue in HIV disease is associated with a variety of factors. Among these are anemia, hormonal imbalances , depression and anxiety, poor nutrition, insufficient or poor quality sleep, lack of physical activity, and medication side effects. Active infections, including AIDS-related opportunistic infections , also play a role. In addition, use of caffeine, alcohol, and/or illicit drugs may interfere with sleep and otherwise contribute to unusual tiredness. Often, several factors act together to cause HIV-related fatigue. The most common factors are discussed in more detail .
If I Am Pregnant And Have Hiv Will My Baby Also Have Hiv
Most women with HIV can protect their baby from becoming infected during pregnancy. Proper pre-natal treatment can reduce the risk that an HIV-positive mother will pass the virus to her child to less than 1 percent. The only way these special treatments can be provided is if the health care professionals know the mother is living with HIV. Treatment is most effective when started early in pregnancy. HIV-positive moms should not breastfeed their babies because HIV is sometimes passed this way.
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How Hiv Affects The Body
HIV attacks the immune system. It specifically attacks the CD4 cells, a subtype of a T cell group. T cells help the body fight off infections.
Without treatment, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells in the body, increasing a persons risk of getting infections. If HIV develops to stage 3, they will also have a higher chance of developing cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information on where individuals can find their nearest HIV testing center.
Assessment And Diagnosis Of Fatigue
Because so many factors can lead to fatigue, it is important for people with HIV to discuss their symptoms with their health-care providers to determine the various contributing causes and how best to manage them. They should also let their providers know how long they have been experiencing fatigue and how severe it is. Other things to note and report are changes in energy levels, physical activity , sleep patterns, and whether fatigue strikes at certain times of the day or after specific activities. Keeping a journal can help people track changes over time and evaluate how fatigue affects daily activities. Dr. Capaldini suggests that people with HIV and their providers do a “fatigue inventory” every six months. Providers should ask similar questions each time to better determine changes over months or years.
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Fatigue Affects Cognitive Processing Speed In The Aging Hiv Population
May 31, 2022
Successful aging is something that most of us strive for. But with aging comes a pervasive condition called fatigue that, in many older adults, interferes with everyday functioning, mental health, social support, and overall quality of life.
The relationship between fatigue and cognitive and functional impairment is one of particular interest in people living with HIV , a patient population that is disproportionately affected but whose lifespan now matches that of the general population.
Dr Raeanne Moore
“In persons with HIV, prevalence rates of fatigue range from 30% to upwards of 88%,” Raeanne Moore, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego Health and coauthor of a study examining the fatigue-cognition conundrum in PWH, told Medscape Medical News.Moore and lead investigator Laura Campbell, a graduate student researcher in clinical psychology at UCSD Health, were determined to tease out this relationship.
“Even though fatigue and changes in cognition are some of the most highly reported symptoms in people with HIV, there’s not a lot of information on the relationship, particularly in older people with HIV,” Campbell explained.HIV-related neurocognitive disorders also commonly interfere with both independence and quality of life in this population.
Study Area And Period
This study was conducted in public and private health facilities of Mekelle city, Tigray, North Ethiopia. The city has seven local administrative district and one hundred sub-districts . Mekelle zone has an estimated total population of 256,000 . Among the health facilities in the city, all hospitals and eight health centers provide ART service. According to the report of Tigray regional state health bureau, a total of 9662 adult ART users are accessing the service from 14 public. An institutional based cross-sectional study was conducted from April 1 to 30, 2019.
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Limitation Of The Study
Limitations of this study include the lack of information captured about study participant use of antidepressant and sleeping pills, which could have influenced the scores of Patients health questionaire-9 and Insomnia Severity Scale. Moreover, as most of the previous research was done in developed countries, it was difficult to compare the result of this study with other studies in the Sub-Saharan region. The use of secondary source can also be mentioned as a limitation of this study. Hence, further longitudinal studies in the area are needed to be conducted.
How Is Acute Hiv Infection Treated
Proper treatment is crucial for people diagnosed with HIV.
Healthcare providers and scientists agree that early treatment with antiretroviral drugs should be used by all HIV-positive people who are ready to start taking a daily medication.
Early treatment may minimize the viruss effects on the immune system.
Newer antiretroviral medications are usually very well tolerated, but theres always the possibility of side effects.
If a person thinks theyre experiencing a side effect of or an allergic reaction to their medication, they should immediately contact their healthcare provider.
In addition to medical treatment, healthcare providers may also suggest certain lifestyle adjustments, including:
Theres no cure for HIV, but treatment allows people with HIV to live long and healthy lives. The outlook is best for people who begin treatment before HIV has damaged their immune system.
Early diagnosis and the right treatment help prevent HIV progressing to AIDS.
Successful treatment improves both the life expectancy and quality of life of someone living with HIV. In most cases, HIV is considered a chronic condition and can be managed long term.
Treatment can also help someone living with HIV reach an undetectable viral load, at which point theyll be unable to transmit HIV to sexual partners.
Acute HIV infection can be prevented by avoiding exposure to the blood, semen, anal secretions, and vaginal fluid of a person living with HIV.
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How Is Hiv Diagnosed
An HIV antibody test, either from a blood sample or an oral sample , can tell whether you have been infected. A negative test result means no HIV antibodies were found. This usually means you are not infected. However, if you engaged in behavior that could spread the virus within three months of having the test, antibodies may not be detectable and you should be re-tested. A positive test result means antibodies to HIV were found. This means you are infected with the virus and can pass HIV to others even if you have no symptoms. You are infected for life. Even if you think you have a low risk for HIV infection, consider getting tested whenever you have a regular medical check-up.
Symptom : Nausea Vomiting And Diarrhoea
Many people experience digestive system problems as a symptom of the early stages of HIV. However, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea can also appear in later stages of infection, usually as the result of an opportunistic infection.
It is important to stay hydrated. Diarrhoea that is unremitting and not responding to usual therapy might be an indication of HIV, and it would be best to seek the advice of a doctor to help determine its cause.
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Coping With Fatigue At Work
If you find that fatigue is affecting your ability to work, it can help to talk to your employer and let them know that you may need some time off or adjustments to your role that could help support you to keep working if you want to.
If your employer knows you have HIV, you are automatically protected by the Equality Act, which prevents employers victimising or discriminating against people with a disability. HIV is considered a disability under the Equality Act, but you do not need to view your HIV as a disability to be protected by this law. The Act also states that employers are expected to make reasonable adjustments to support employees in the workplace.
You do not need to tell your employer you have HIV in order to make requests for time off or adjustments to your role. However, if you do tell them, and they still refuse to grant your request, you would have a stronger legal case if you need to challenge their decision.
It may be helpful to make suggestions for adjustments that could help to support you. Things that your employer can do to help include:
- changing your hours so that you can travel to and from work at less busy times
- asking colleagues to be supportive and to help with some of your work
- finding you a parking place near to your place of work
- letting you take a short break every now and again to rest
- allowing you to work from home, if possible
- finding you lighter work if your job involves physical exertion or heavy lifting.
Biological Underpinnings Clinical Interventions
Although the biological underpinnings of fatigue in HIV are still unclear, Campbell points to three theories: 1) modulation by thalamo-striato-cortical circuitry that involve the basal ganglia, 2) inflammation , and 3) mitochondrial dysfunction. However, without a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms, it might be difficult to design specific treatments or treatment strategies.
Still even without specific approved pharmacological treatments for fatigue in older PWH, it’s important to address it as well as cognition during routine clinical visits.
“The association between fatigue and cognition and everyday function is really meaningful for our patients it impacts their daily life every single day,” said Judith Lee, NP, an adult gerontology nurse practitioner at the University of Maryland Institute of Human Virology’s THRIVE Program in Baltimore. Lee was not involved in the study.
“In our practice, we always ask patients if they are experiencing fatigue as part of their review of systems,” she said, noting that, after ruling out other causes such as Vitamin D deficiency or hypothyroidism, “we’ve had patients get referred to outside sites for neuropsych testing.”
But Lee acknowledged that, without more research, fatigue in HIV is “a difficult fix.”
“There’s also a number of things that can keep the brain healthy or support brain health in general,” Campbell added “things like physical activity, healthy nutrition, and good regular sleep.”
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Early Symptoms Of Hiv
People who have contracted HIV often experience some early symptoms. Early HIV testing and diagnosis are crucial in making persons aware of their status. The sooner a person is diagnosed with HIV, the sooner he or she can begin to undergo treatment and living a healthy, normal life. Some of the more common early HIV symptoms include fever, headaches, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea, vomiting, and unexplained weight loss. These symptoms can be attributed to several underlying conditions that mimic AIDS.
The first stage of HIV infection is called primary or acute HIV infection. It is also known as acute retroviral syndrome. During this phase, individuals usually experience flu-like symptoms that can be very difficult to differentiate from a cold or minor respiratory infection. However, if these symptoms do not go away in a few days or weeks and begin to cause extreme fatigue, stomach problems, headaches, muscle aches, or swollen lymph nodes, it is time to get tested for HIV.
How Can You Tell If You Have Hiv
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. You cant rely on symptoms to tell whether you have HIV.
Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information so you can take steps to keep yourself and your partner healthy:
- If you test positive, you can take medicine to treat HIV. People with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long and healthy lives and will not transmit HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex. An undetectable viral load is a level of HIV in the blood so low that it cant be detected in a standard lab test.
- If you test negative, you have more HIV prevention tools available today than ever before, like pre-exposure prophylaxis , medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use, and post-exposure prophylaxis , HIV medicine taken within 72 hours after a possible exposure to prevent the virus from taking hold.
- If you are pregnant, you should be tested for HIV so that you can begin treatment if you’re HIV-positive. If you have HIV and take HIV medicine as prescribed throughout your pregnancy and childbirth and give HIV medicine to your baby for 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth, your risk of transmitting HIV to your baby can be less than 1%. HIV medicine will protect your own health as well.
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When To Seek Medical Care
Early diagnosis is key. If you think youve been exposed to HIV or have an encounter that put you at risk for HIV, you should seek medical care right away with a primary care doctor, urgent or walk-in clinic, or, if those are not available to you, a local emergency room.
Doctors can give you a medication called post-exposure prophylaxis after exposure to reduce your chances of developing HIV. But this medication needs to be taken within 72 hours of exposure. Ideally, youd start taking it within the first 24 hours.
If you think you were exposed to HIV in the past for example, if a former sexual partner tells you they have HIV its critical to seek medical care as soon as possible. The sooner you find out you have HIV, the sooner you can start treatment.
Strengths And Limitations Of This Study
The cross-sectional nature of this study is not sufficient to infer the causality of HIV-related fatigue.
The wider CI for the OR of some variables suggests replication of the study using a larger sample size.
The strengths of this study are: this study has provided a well-powered insight into the prevalence of fatigue and factors associated among the people living with HIV using a representative sample of the clinical population and a valid outcome tool. This should enhance the external validity of the findings.
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Scheduling An Appointment With Your Doctor
If you think that you are exhibiting any of these seven early symptoms of HIV infection, schedule an appointment at one of our ARcare clinics here in Arkansas. Find the nearest clinic to you, and give us a call. Your doctor will assess your symptoms, perform an examination, and order diagnostic tests to accurately diagnose your condition. If you are diagnosed with HIV, you can continue receiving care at your ARcare HIV treatment center to manage your condition.
What Can Effective Hiv Treatment Do
HIV medication keeps you healthy so you can live a normal lifespan.
Treatment can also reduce your viral load to undetectable levels so that you wont be able to pass on HIV to anyone else. It can take up to six months from starting treatment to become undetectable, so its important to test and start treatment on time.
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Diagnosing Acute Hiv Infection
Blood taken during the acute phase of HIV infection may show lymphopenia and thrombocytopenia, but atypical lymphocytes are infrequent. The CD4 count usually remains normal. The HIV-1 antibody tests , the only tests officially used to diagnose established HIV infection, do not become positive until three or four weeks after the infection is acquired.
On the other hand, the quantitative plasma HIV-1 RNA level by polymerase chain reaction , which is 95 to 98 percent sensitive for HIV,8 becomes positive within 11 days of infection.9 During the symptomatic phase of acute HIV infection, the viral RNA shows in excess of 50,000 copies per mL.3 Three instances of false-positive HIV-1-RNA tests have been reported in each instance, however, the person was not having symptoms, and the viral load was less than 2,000 copies per mL.10 The presence of high-titer HIV-I RNA in the absence of HIV antibodies establishes the diagnosis of acute HIV infection.3,11
HIV-1 antibody and viral load tests are readily available through commercial laboratories and should be performed whenever a patient presents with signs and symptoms of acute HIV syndrome and a history that is compatible with HIV infection. If viral RNA quantitation is not available, a serum or plasma p24 antigen test may be used to detect viral infection before the appearance of HIV antibodies.