Symptoms Early After Infection - Acute HIV - In emergency departments and family practice offices, people come in with symptoms like fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, rash and diarrhea. In response to these symptoms, physicians diagnose the flu and send the patient on their way. In the majority of cases, their diagnosis proves correct. But unfortunately, a number of people with these vague, indistinct symptoms have a more serious illness than the flu; these symptoms may signal the acute stages of HIV infection.
Symptoms of the Immune System - The immune system is the body's natural defense against invading foreign agents such as viruses and bacteria. HIV attacks the immune system, weakening it and making the body more susceptible to infection. After infection, some symptoms affect the immune system.
Symptoms of the GI Tract - HIV can have a profound affect on the gastrointestinal system and nutrition. Like any virus, HIV can cause symptoms ranging from poor appetite to diarrhea. Here are some of the most common:
Respiratory Symptoms - Some of the most serious symptoms of HIV involve the respiratory system. Symptoms associated with breathing and respiration usually occur later in course of the disease. Unfortunately, many people's first symptom of HIV involves the respiratory system, illustrating why HIV testing is so important. Any cough or shortness of breath could be a sign of bacterial pneumonia or pneumocystis (carinii) jiroveci pneumonia (PCP).
Symptoms of the Skin and Mucous Membranes - Many of the symptoms of HIV are a result of infection by other viruses, fungi or bacteria. Often, these infections involve the skin or mucous membranes (for example, inside the mouth).
- HIV Effects on Dental Health
- Skin rash
- Red, brown, pink or purple lesion on the skin - suggestive of Kaposi's sarcoma
- White patches on the tounge, inside of the mouth, or gums - could be signs of thrush, candida, or hairy oral leukoplakia
- Canker sores / apthous ulcers
Neurological / Emotional Symptoms - Very early on in the epidemic, experts realized that HIV affected both the physical and emotional self. Neurological and emotional symptoms of HIV can include the following.
- Numbness, tingling, or burning in the feet, hands, or face. (peripheral neuropathy)
- Confusion, weakness, or changes in level of conciousness
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