Second Phase of HIV
The second phase is the clinical latent stage or chronic HIV infection. At this stage, people with HIV may not feel any symptoms.
The HIV virus is actually still active, but it is very slow to reproduce. That’s why you may not experience any of the early symptoms of HIV.
This latent period can last a decade or more without experiencing any signs or symptoms at all.
Despite being in a latent period without symptoms, people with HIV can transmit the virus to others. This is because the immune system is still able to control the activity of the virus, but cannot eliminate the virus completely.
HIV-positive patients who regularly take medicines to control the infection may have a longer latency period. In contrast, those who do not take medications may experience faster disease progression.
Additionally, if you take your medication regularly and have very low levels of virus in your body, you are less likely to pass the HIV virus on to others.
Third Phase of HIV: AIDS
The last phase of HIV is AIDS. In this final phase, HIV infection in the body causes the immune system to be severely damaged and susceptible to opportunistic infections – the infections that attack people with poor immune systems.
How Important Is Getting An HIV Test?
Detecting the early symptoms of HIV is not enough to diagnose the infection. The doctor will ask you to take an HIV blood test for confirmation.
Getting tested for HIV is very important because people who are infected with HIV but do not show early symptoms may not realize that they are already infected.
If you experience the early symptoms of HIV, do not panic. Immediately consult a doctor, particularly if you belong in the group that is vulnerable to HIV and AIDS. Immediate testing helps protect yourself and others.