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Early HIV symptoms in women

HIV

 
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) affects several million of women worldwide. HIV infection typically results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. AIDS represents deterioration of the immune system, which makes an affected woman prone to various infections and viruses. Usually HIV develops into AIDS after several years but HIV alone is associated with number of symptoms and may cause death. Women are generally more prone to catch HIV virus and AIDS. The early symptoms of HIV in women differ from those in men.

 

HIV Transmission

HIV is a sexually transmitted disease. Person can contract the virus if he or she practices unprotected sex. The virus can be caught through a contact with vaginal secretion or semen of infected person. Women are more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases since they have larger area of tissue and skin that is exposed to male semen. HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through blood transfusion or sharing needles among intravenous drug users. Infected mother can spread the virus to the baby via breast milk.

Early HIV Symptoms in Women

The early symptoms of HIV do not always appear. After a woman has been exposed to HIV virus, she may experience the first symptoms somewhere in between second and twelfth week. These symptoms usually last for short period of time and can be often mistaken for those of another viral infection. The following early symptoms can occur in infected women:

  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Large lymph glands in the neck, armpit and the groin area
  • Pain in muscles or joints
  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Chest infection or cough
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Herpes infections
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Oral symptoms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness

Diagnosis

 

In order to confirm existence of HIV virus, the blood must be tested for the presence of antibodies to the virus. Diagnostic test that is commonly used to confirm or rule out HIV/AIDS is enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test or ELISA. This test has to be repeated twice, if it was positive first time. After second ELISA positive test another test is performed to search for HIV proteins presence. However, the antibodies to HIV are usually produced by the immune system after 3 to 6 months thus these diagnostic tests are not so accurate.

Treatment

HIV is an incurable disease. The treatment mainly aims to relieve the symptoms and cure other associated infections. The treatment is more successful if HIV is detected in early stage. Today are mostly used anti-viral drugs to prolong life in HIV infected individuals.

 

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