If you contract HIV, you may not know it for months or even years. It starts with flu-like symptoms. 40-90% of people infected with the virus begin to have the flu-likesumptoms within the first month or two. It is known as acute retroviral syndrome. However there are some times when symptoms lie dormant for years or even decades. Here are some warning signs that would prompt a visit to the doctor to be tested.
1. One of your first symptoms is usually a fever. It can be up to 102. This is a sign that there is an infection that is moving through your bloodstream. It may be coupled with swollen glands and fatigue.
2. Extreme fatigue can be a symptom that pops up early on, or later.
3. You may experience joint pain, sore muscles, and swollen glands along with a sore throat and headache. ARS with these symptoms is often misdiagnosed as mono or the flu.
4. Skin rashes can pop up at any time. They will be red and itchy. If there is no obvious reason for them, go see a doctor.
5. 30-60% of people in the early stages of HIV will experience short periods of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
6. “AIDS wasting” or extreme weight loss is a sign that the illness is pretty far along.
7. A dry cough that doesn’t seem to go away could be a symptom early on.
8. If you are HIV positive it is easier to catch pneumonia because your immune system is compromised.
9. Night sweats can pop up in the early stages and around half of everyone diagnosed has them.
10. Due to your weak immune system, you may notice that your nails change color or become curved and misshapen which can be caused by a fungal infection. You may also contract a yeast infection.
11. Confusing or troubles concentrating may be a sign of HIV-related dementia which show up in the late stages.
12. Weakness and tingling in the extremities is a late stage sign as well.
While most of these on their own can be mistaken for something else, you should go see a doctor to get tested if you are experiencing any and have recently had unprotected s*x.