STAGES OF HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus disease has 3 stages;
- Stage 1; Acute primary infection
- Stage 2; Asymptomatic phase
- Stage 3; Symptomatic phase
STAGE 1 - ACUTE PRIMARY INFECTION
This is the period from immediately after infection, till the resolution of acute seroconversion illness. In some people, this phase can be divided into 2;
- Window or eclipse period
- Acute Seroconversion illness period
In the window period, there are no signs of any disease, and although transmission of the virus can take place, it is not yet as high as the seroconversion time and beyond. Tests during this period may be negative (false negative).
Some persons do not experience this phase. However, people that have it may experience the following symptoms;
- Body rashes
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands
- Abdominal pains
- Joint aches
- Muscle pain
This illness is caused by the person’s immunity trying to fight off the virus. In this phase, most tests will be positive, and probability of transmission is very high because of the rapid multiplication of the virus.
STAGE 2 - ASYMPTOMATIC PHASE
This period extends from after seroconversion illness or acute primary infection, to the beginning of opportunistic infections in the AIDS stage. This period can vary considerably in different persons from 3 to 15 years. Usually the individual will feel very healthy during this period, but the virus is silently doing severe damage to the immune system.
STAGE 3 - SYMPTOMATIC HIV INFECTION (AIDS)
At this stage the immune system have been rendered very weak and can barely fight any infection. This gives opportunity to diseases it would have comfortably fought off to infect and further ravage the individual’s systems. A person at this stage might experience the following symptoms;
- Weight loss
- Chronic diarrhea
- Night sweats
- Persistent fever
- Persistent cough
- Recurrent infections
- Various skin rashes
NB: The earlier one is diagnosed with HIV and commenced on treatment, the better their long term health status.
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