Monday, June 10, 2024

Is Fatigue A Symptom Of Hiv

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Is There A Period When The Virus Isnt Transmittable

does HIV make you tired (symptoms of hiv)

HIV is transmittable soon after its introduced into the body. During this phase, the bloodstream contains higher levels of HIV, which makes it easy to transmit it to others.

Since not everyone has early symptoms of HIV, getting tested is the only way to know if the virus has been contracted. An early diagnosis also allows an HIV-positive person to begin treatment. Proper treatment can eliminate their risk of transmitting the virus to their sexual partners.

What Should I Do If I Think I Could Have Hiv

Only an HIV test can tell you whether you have HIV.

Try not to guess based on any symptoms you may or may not have, or on the HIV status of a person you have had sex with.

If you test, tell whoever tests you if youve recently taken risks or had symptoms similar to seroconversion illness, as this will affect the kind of HIV test you should have.

To be on the safe side, and until you know your test result, use condoms to protect anyone you have sex with.

You can also call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221.

How Common Is Fatigue In People With Hiv

Many providers believe that fatigue is one of the most prevalent — yet under-reported, under-recognized, and under-treated — aspects of HIV disease. Several studies suggest that most people with HIV/AIDS experience fatigue at some point during their illness, with estimates ranging from less than 50% to more than 80%. The prevalence of fatigue increases as HIV disease progresses. During the initial, acute period of HIV infection, many people experience a flu-like illness that includes fatigue. After this initial period, the incidence of fatigue decreases, but then rises again later in the course of illness people with advanced AIDS are more likely to report fatigue than people at earlier stages of HIV infection. Stephen Ferrando, M.D., and colleagues found that HIV positive men with CD4 cell counts below 500 cells/mm3 experienced more fatigue than men with CD4 cell counts above 500 cells/mm3. However, studies so far have not found a consistent correlation between viral load levels and fatigue.

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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.

Pain Cognitive Complaints And Fatigue

Most Common HIV Symptoms in Men

Although pain and cognitive complaints differed across fatigue groups in bivariate analyses, neither symptom was uniquely predictive of any fatigue pattern when controlling for other factors. We previously reported that those with pain in this sample had higher levels of fatigue interference than those without pain . However, in this analysis, pain was only related to fatigue patterns in bivariate analyses and did not contribute to multivariate models. The finding that pain is not a unique predictor of fatigue pattern is consistent with another study in HIV-infected adults . Cognitive complaints have also been associated with fatigue , and while they differed across fatigue patterns in bivariate analyses in this study, their nonsignificance in multivariate models highlights the importance of controlling for other factors when identifying correlates of fatigue.

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Symptom : Swollen Lymph Nodes Achy Muscles And Joint Pain

Lymph nodes are part of your bodys immune system and protect your blood by getting rid of bacteria and viruses. They tend to get inflamed when theres an infection. Many of them are located in your armpit, groin and neck which can result in aches and pains in these areas.

Given these symptoms are common across many viral infections, they alone are not a reliable way to determine if the infection you are experiencing is HIV.

What To Do About Fatigue

Its important to listen to your body, recognize when youre feeling a little run down, and know what you can do to get your energy back.

Lets go through each of the causes we mentioned above and talk about solutions:

  • Deal with your emotional symptoms. Anxiety and depression are natural reactions to stressful situations, such as being diagnosed with HIV. They can be treated with therapy and medications. Dont let people tell you its all in your head, these things are real and can cause physical symptoms as well! Talk to a health professional and look into meditation, yoga, and other natural ways to improve your mood.
  • Dont party so hard. Having fun is good for your emotions but try not to lean on alcohol and recreational drugs when youre partying. Your Saturday nights dont have to ruin your Sundays.
  • Get serious about diet and exercise. These two go together. Using better fuel and staying active are important for your health. Going on walks and working your way into an exercise rhythm will improve your mood, keep your heart healthy, and help you beat fatigue. The more you sit around, the more tired you will feel.
  • Talk to your doctor about side effects. Its important to consider side effects when talking to your doctor about starting any medication.
  • Get tested for anemia. Common tests can measure your red blood cell count to see if youre anemic. You may be able to change your diet or do other things to treat anemia.

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Relevance To Clinical Practice

Fatigue can be a healthy symptom for adults who feel tired at the end of the day. In this case, fatigue serves as a healthy reminder to rest. When fatigue is relieved by sleep or rest, fatigue would be considered a healthy symptom experience. Our findings in a clinical sample of adults with HIV/AIDS demonstrate that fatigue is less likely to be related to their clinical disease and more likely to be related to mental health symptoms of depression and anxiety. Our data indicate that anxiety can be fatiguing and nurses should assess for anxiety when patients who have any type of chronic illness complain of fatigue. These results provide initial evidence for the importance of assessing the patients daily fluctuation in fatigue, as different patterns can be associated with different symptom experiences and perhaps different etiologies.

Assessment And Diagnosis Of Fatigue

Medical Conditions & Symptoms : What Are the First Symptoms of HIV?

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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Symptom : Fatigue And Headache

The inflammatory response generated by your besieged immune system can cause you to feel tired and lethargic. Sometimes it can make you feel winded while walking or generally feel out of breath. Fatigue can be both an early and later symptom of HIV.

There are several things that can cause a person to feel fatigued, so pay attention to your body and your lifestyle to see if you can draw a conclusion. If your fatigue persists, seek advice from your doctor.

Sleep Disturbance And Fatigue

Previous studies have documented a relationship between sleep disturbance and fatigue . In this study, sleep disturbance was associated with all three patterns in bivariate analyses. However, in multivariate analyses controlling for demographic, clinical and other symptom factors, sleep disturbance was only a significant independent predictor of the high morning and evening fatigue pattern. This finding is consistent with previous research showing that poor sleep is associated not only with greater fatigue the next morning, but also with more fatigue the following evening . A study of healthy adults showed a higher level of fatigue in the morning among people who were sleep deprived, while those without sleep deprivation had slightly lower fatigue ratings in the morning than in the evening, indicating that sleep disturbance can influence patterns of fatigue. The finding that sleep disturbance was not independently associated with either evening-only or morning-only fatigue suggests that bivariate relationships between sleep disturbance and these two fatigue patterns may be better explained by psychological symptoms rather than sleep disturbance specifically.

Read Also: How To Know If You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Testing Negative And Preventing Hiv

If you test negative for HIV outside of the window period, or with an antigen test, this means that you are not living with HIV. If you are concerned about being able to continue preventing HIV during sex, you can consider taking PrEP . PrEP means that people who do not have HIV take an HIV medication to lower their chance of acquiring HIV if they are exposed to the virus. PrEP medications are extremely effective at keeping people HIV-negative when they are taken as prescribed. For more information, please see our fact sheet on PrEP for Women.

If you have not had sex or shared a needle to inject drugs, hormones, or other substances, you cannot acquire HIV. If you are having symptoms, then they are definitely not from acute or advanced HIV. If you are still worried, you can get tested for HIV then you have proof that you are not living with the virus.

Read more: HIV Testing

What Are The 3 Stages Of Hiv When Does Hiv Infection Transition To Aids

Types of HIV Test

There are 3 stages of HIV infection.

  • Stage 1: Flu-like symptoms after initial HIV infection
  • Stage 2: Clinically latency may last for 10 or more years in some individuals
  • Stage 3: After HIV reactivation and/or HIVs progressive attack on the immune system, the damaged immune system has a reduced or an inability to protect the individual from serious infections and other illnesses. This stage is termed AIDS. In this stage, lab testing reveals high viral loads and CD4 counts < 200 cells/mm3.

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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.

What Causes ‘your’ Fatigue

Many physical and mental illnesses, as well as lifestyle factors, can cause your fatigue, and that can make it hard to diagnose. In some cases, it might be something simple and easy to fix, like having caffeine at bedtime. But other causes, like heart disease or COPD, are serious, and you may need to start long-term treatment right away.

Your doctor can help you sift through your health issues, as well as diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits, in order to zero in on the cause and help you on the road to recovery.

Recommended Reading: What Can Cause Shortness Of Breath And Fatigue

Treatment Of Acute Hiv Infection

Patients identified during acute primary HIV infection should be treated with combination antiretroviral therapy to suppress viral replication to levels below the limit of detection on plasma HIV-1 RNA assays.1,23 Although opponents of this recommendation argue for conservative management,21 compelling arguments for early aggressive therapy have been presented.22

Patients who present with symptomatic acute HIV syndrome have a poorer prognosis than those with asymptomatic primary HIV infection.24 Early treatment may preserve immune system function by blunting the high level of HIV replication and reducing damage to the immune system during this period. Thus, early treatment has the potential to decrease the set point , reduce the viral mutation rate and decrease the risk of HIV transmission.1 The current recommendation is to use, for an indefinite duration, combination antiretroviral therapy with at least three drugs to which the patient has never been exposed.

In most untreated patients, set-point plasma HIV-1 RNA levels stabilize between 1,000 and 10,000 copies per mL for a number of years. In the advanced stages of AIDS, HIV-1 RNA levels exceed 1 million copies per mL. In the absence of treatment, the apparent nonprogessor with an HIV-1 RNA level of less than 400 copies per mL is rare. Nonprogression is the state hopefully achievable with early aggressive therapy.1

  • A nonthymidine NRTI such as didanosine , lamivudine or zalcitabine .

  • Finding The Cause Of Fatigue

    My Acute HIV Symptoms Answered

    Your doctor may want to do some tests to find why you are so tired. You may have one or more of the following:

    • Blood tests for anemia and hormone levels
    • Tests to check your kidneys, liver, and electrolyte levels
    • Chest X-rays and lung function tests
    • Symptom check for depression
    • Review of all medicines to see if they are causing your fatigue
    • Discussion of your sleep and exercise habits

    Recommended Reading: What Causes Extreme Fatigue And Headaches

    What Are Some Basic Things To Know About Hiv And The Body

    HIV is a chronic health condition. At the moment, no cure is available for HIV, though researchers are working on that. What we do have available, right now, are many treatments that are extremely good at keeping HIV under control in peoples bodies. They are easy to take, with few or no side effects. These medications are helping millions of people with HIV live as long and as fully as if they did not have HIV . If their HIV treatment is working, then the chance is zero that they can pass on HIV during sex.

    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 .

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    Dietary Sources Of Nutrients Important For Red Blood Cell Production


    • Leafy green vegetables
    • Dried fruit
    • Liver
    • Meat and poultry
    • Shellfish
    • Tofu
    • Fortified cereals, grains, and pasta
    • Green vegetables
    • Orange juice
    • Meat and poultry
    • Fish
    • Dairy products
    • Eggs

    There are several methods for assessing nutritional status, including weight, body tissue composition analysis, and blood tests for specific vitamins and minerals. The best way to improve nutritional status is to eat a well-balanced diet. Most nutritionists recommend that people get their calories and nutrients from food if possible. However, if a person is unable to consume enough of certain foods to make up an adequate diet, or if he or she is unable to absorb nutrients from the foods eaten, nutritional supplements can help offset the difference. If gastrointestinal absorption is a problem, nutrients can be delivered parenterally . A nutritionist who has experience with HIV disease can help develop a personalized nutritional plan to address individual needs.

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