In other words, a person cannot get HIV through casual contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, or sneezing.
Babies can get it if their mothers are HIV positive during pregnancy.
Symptoms of HIV vs AIDS
There are several symptoms of HIV but the only way that you can tell that you have HIV is if you get tested. However, prior to testing, you may notice the following symptoms that could indicate that you may have HIV in the acute stage.
You may experience flu-like symptoms such as:
- Fever and chills
- Muscle aches and joint pains
- Night sweats
- Sore throats
- Mouth ulcers
- Swollen lymph nodes
Not everyone experiences these symptoms. And even if you get these symptoms, you should not immediately think that you have HIV unless it has already been confirmed by a blood test.
During the clinical latency stage, the virus continues to multiply.
At the final stage, it becomes full blown AIDS. This is the most critical difference between HIV and AIDS.
When you have AIDS, the symptoms will be:
- Recurring fever
- Rapid weight loss
- Extreme and unexplained fatigue
- Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands
- Sores in the mouth, anus, or genitals
- Pneumonia and other lung infections
- Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
- Red, brown, or purplish blotches on the skin
- Memory loss, neurological disorders, and depression
Most viral infections are controlled by the body’s immune system. HIV infection renders the immune system ineffective, that’s why benign infections become difficult to control–hence they are called opportunistic infections.
A person at risk of HIV who develops the symptoms should consult a doctor.
Timeframe for HIV to become AIDS
Though treatments are now available for people with HIV so that the disease won’t transition to AIDS, there are those who may not be aware that they have HIV. When this happens, it takes only five to 10 years for HIV to become full blown AIDS. However, certain factors may affect the timeline especially if they receive absolutely no medical treatment.
- General and overall health of the person with HIV
- Availability of or access to treatment
- The individual’s genetics or family history
- Smoking and substance abuse
- Genetic strain of the HIV that a person has been infected with
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