The first signs of HIV in women: how the infection manifests itself

HIV is a virus that attacks the body's immune system, destroying a certain type of cell that helps the body fight infection and disease. This virus is more common in men than women.

With effective treatment with antiretroviral drugs, people with HIV can live healthy lives without the risk of transmitting the virus to others.

In this article, we look at the early signs and symptoms of HIV infection in men, and when to get tested to ensure effective treatment.

Symptoms characteristic of men

Initial symptoms of HIV are usually vague and nonspecific in men. Early symptoms of infection are often mistaken for the flu or other mild illness.

Thus, men may underestimate symptoms and delay seeking medical attention until symptoms worsen, in which case the infection may be very advanced. The fact that some men do not receive timely treatment may be the reason why men are more seriously affected by this disease than women.

However, this may not be true for every person. In addition to flu-like symptoms, some men may also experience more severe symptoms early on, such as:

  • decreased mental activity;
  • weight loss;
  • fatigue.

In rare cases, HIV can quickly progress to AIDS.

Symptoms of AIDS in women

In the absence of proper treatment, HIV infection sooner or later passes into the stage of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The transition to the terminal stage is indicated by the symptoms of HIV in women, photos of which we will provide below. Last but not least, you should pay attention to the condition of the skin.

Skin changes are characteristic specifically of the later stages of HIV infection; it is impossible to visually distinguish early patients from healthy ones. Signs of AIDS on the skin are :

  • Spontaneous depigmentation - white spots on the face, abdomen and limbs.
  • Kaposi's sarcoma is multiple hemorrhagic sarcomatosis).
  • Pyodermatitis is a pustule resulting from infection with streptococci and staphylococci.
  • A macular rash is large red spots that form mainly due to vascular damage.
  • Mycotic lesions are a consequence of a fungal infection.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin lesion characterized by severe itching and flaking.

Most often, in the terminal stage of the disease, a papular rash and oncological lesions of the skin are observed. Below are these symptoms of HIV in women, photos:

In addition to manifestations of the disease on the skin, symptoms of AIDS in women are an absolute lack of body resistance. The terminal stage of HIV is characterized by co-infections with tuberculosis and viral hepatitis.

Early signs and symptoms of HIV infection in men

Early signs and symptoms of HIV are usually mild in men. They can easily be underestimated or mistaken for minor illnesses.

Men may experience flu-like symptoms days or weeks after contracting the virus; early symptoms may include:

  • fever;
  • skin rash;
  • headache;
  • a sore throat;
  • fatigue.

Less common early symptoms of HIV include:

  • mouth ulcers;
  • ulcers on the genitals;
  • night sweats;
  • nausea or vomiting;
  • muscle pain;
  • joint pain;
  • enlarged lymph nodes.

How long does it take for HIV symptoms to appear?

Within a couple of weeks after acquiring the disease, the first signs begin to appear in a person: mild, barely noticeable ailments that can easily be confused with any cold. After 30-50 days of weakness, fatigue and low-grade fever (below 38 degrees), the symptoms completely disappear for a long time. HIV enters an asymptomatic stage, which can last several months or even years.

The first symptom of HIV in men is low-grade fever

Unfortunately, this does not mean that the disease has receded. The disease will continue to develop even during the asymptomatic stage. After its completion, the infected person will notice new signs of HIV infection in men, which are much more unpleasant. If you allow the disease to develop after a lull, it is very difficult to cure the disease. The terminal stage is approaching - a non-fatal disease will gradually develop into AIDS.

  • How to treat bedsores with folk remedies at home
  • Oxalates in urine - what is it? Elevated oxalates in urine - causes, treatment and diet for adults and children
  • How to cope with hypertension using folk remedies

Chronology of the development of HIV infection

HIV usually progresses in three stages. Each stage has specific characteristics and symptoms.

Stage 1: Acute phase

This stage usually occurs 2-4 weeks after transmission and not every person will notice it.

Typical symptoms are similar to the flu and may include fever and chills. Some people don't realize they have the virus because their symptoms are mild and they don't get sick.

At this stage, people usually have a significant amount of the virus in their blood, meaning it is easy to transmit. If someone thinks they may be carrying the HIV virus, they should seek medical help and get tested as soon as possible.

Stage 2: Clinical latency

This stage can last 10 years or more if the person does not receive treatment. Marked by the absence of symptoms, this phase is also known as the asymptomatic phase.

At this stage, medicine known as antiretroviral therapy (ART) can control the virus, meaning that HIV does not progress further. It also means people are less likely to pass the virus on to others.

Although the virus is still in the blood, it may be doing so at levels that cannot be detected by testing. If there are undetectable levels of the virus for at least 6 months, it is not transmitted to other people through sex.

At this stage, HIV is still replicating inside the body, less intensely than in the acute phase.

Stage 3: AIDS

This is the most severe stage, when the amount of virus in the body has destroyed the body's population of immune cells. Typical symptoms of this stage are:

  • fever;
  • sweat;
  • chills;
  • weight loss;
  • enlarged lymph nodes.

During this stage, the immune system is very weakened, allowing opportunistic infections to invade the body.

HIV: symptoms in men at various stages of disease development

Symptoms of HIV infection in men are almost the same as in women. an average of 10-14 years pass between the penetration of the virus into the human body and the last stage of HIV development (before the onset of AIDS) . At an early stage, symptoms of HIV in men may resemble signs of mononucleosis (a febrile state in which there is a change in the composition of the blood), colds, and acute respiratory viral infections. A man can notice manifestations of HIV infection no earlier than after 1-1.5 months.

The first signs of AIDS in men may be the following:

  • Symptoms of a common cold: sudden increase in body temperature (up to 37.5 degrees), chills, muscle pain, nasal congestion, etc.
  • Vague, vague mental disorders: general decrease in tone and mood. The patient is irritable, suffers from boredom and apathy.
  • Skin rashes may appear in the genital area or throughout the body.

However, after 30-50 days, the symptoms of the disease completely disappear and a calm stage begins, which can last up to several months or more. But this does not mean at all that the disease has cured itself. The pathological process continues to develop during the asymptomatic stage. After its completion, the patient experiences new, more serious manifestations of HIV. If no measures are taken, the terminal and incurable stage of AIDS will soon occur.

The duration of the asymptomatic stage depends on the characteristics of the disease and the general condition of the body and can range from several months to five years.

Is it possible to detect HIV without obvious symptoms? No. Without a medical examination this is not yet possible. The presence of infection can be determined by conducting laboratory blood tests, and if you have even the slightest suspicion of HIV infection, you must urgently go to the clinic and be tested for the virus.

Stage two: signs of HIV infection in men

The timing of the end of the temporary lull stage is very vague and can range from one to three years. After the incubation period, further development is characterized by an increase in lymph nodes of several groups. If you notice these signs, then you have entered another stage - generalized lymphadenopathy, which may soon develop into AIDS.

At this stage, in addition to enlarged lymph nodes , patients experience the following symptoms of HIV infection:

  • Temperature rises to 38 degrees.
  • Cough with sputum.
  • New growths on the body are red-violet in color. Most often, this symptom is very pronounced in men.
  • Memory impairment. The infection can cause dementia.

If the patient at this time abuses alcohol, takes drugs and/or is a heavy smoker, then the latent stage passes much faster and can end after two months.

Despite the fact that there are no obvious symptoms of the disease, the virus will make itself known, for example, by a non-healing scratch or wound . If you notice any changes in your body: you begin to often get fungal or colds, or suffer from cuts that take a long time to heal, etc., you need to consult a specialist to identify HIV infection.

You need to know that HIV is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse (including oral, anal and vaginal intercourse) and through blood (sharing of one syringe when injecting drugs, blood transfusion).

Symptoms of the acute form of the disease

At the third stage, the symptoms of immunodeficiency appear quite clearly; you just need to monitor the state of your body and write down everything that happens to it.

The main signs of HIV infection in advanced form resemble infectious mononucleosis and can be as follows:

  • Just like at the initial stage, symptoms of a cold appear (nasal congestion, pain and sore throat, etc.).
  • Body temperature rises (up to 38 degrees) without obvious reasons. Taking antipyretics does not give results.
  • Apathy, lethargy, and general weakness of the body appear. The patient shuns friends, colleagues and even his beloved woman; he is no longer interested in work and hobbies.
  • Lymph nodes in the groin area and neck become enlarged. In this case, pain is completely absent even if you press on the seals.
  • For no apparent reason, increased sweating begins, especially at night.
  • Red rashes are clearly visible on the body, which periodically disappear.

At the third stage of development of HIV infection, severe destruction of internal organs and an almost complete absence of immunity are recorded. The body’s defense system has already weakened so much that it simply cannot cope with viral cells. This stage is characterized by the addition of concomitant pathologies caused by oncological processes, various harmful microflora, as well as various infections.

The maximum duration of the acute stage is two years. During this period, the following diseases are most often diagnosed in men suffering from HIV:

  • Seborrhea;
  • shingles;
  • herpes;
  • fungal infection of the nail plates of the hands and feet;
  • leukoplakia of the tongue;
  • Oral candidiasis.

The course of the above pathologies occurs in an acute form with the possible appearance of rather unpleasant symptoms uncharacteristic of HIV. For example, disturbances in the functioning of the blood supply system are complemented by extensive hematomas, and oral candidiasis is accompanied by increased bleeding of the gums.

Diseases such as sinusitis, otitis media or pharyngitis can be burdened with severe complications, and the treatment of these pathologies is delayed for a long time.

At the end of the acute stage of HIV, the disease takes on its final terminal form, and the diagnosis now sounds like acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Diagnosis in men and women

Doctors diagnose HIV in men and women by testing a sample of blood or saliva, although they may also test a sample of urine. This test looks for antibodies produced by a person to fight the virus. It usually takes 3 to 12 weeks for antibodies to be detected.

Another test looks at HIV antigens, which are substances the virus produces immediately after transmission. These antigens cause activation of the immune system. HIV produces the p24 antigen in the body before antibodies develop.

Typically, both antibody and antigen tests are performed in laboratories, but home tests are also available.

Home tests may require a small sample of blood or saliva and the result is known immediately. If the test is positive, it is important to confirm the results with your doctor. If the test is negative, the person should repeat the test a few months later to confirm the results.

The difference between HIV and AIDS

HIV is a viral infection of the body that causes a severe weakening of the immune system. As a result, a person does not have enough of his own reserves to resist pathogenic factors. An HIV-infected person is not considered sick until the first signs of AIDS appear—the final stage. It has been proven that the disease can develop for more than one year - the duration depends on the capabilities of the immune system and the level of therapeutic support.

Literally, AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome . There is no further progression, only death. At this stage, the protective functionality of all vital systems is reduced to zero. Against this background, the course of the viral disease is aggravated by a number of other pathologies with characteristic symptoms.

How often should a man get tested for HIV?

Men who are sexually active are at risk and can be tested for HIV at least once a year.

It is recommended that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get an HIV test.

It is also recommended that people with certain risk factors get tested at least once a year. This recommendation applies to gay and bisexual men and to male injecting drug users.

In addition to these recommendations, anyone who may have been exposed to HIV or had sex without a condom should also get tested.

Causes and routes of HIV infection in women

No one is immune from HIV infection. The threat comes from an infected person or someone with AIDS. They have dangerous microorganisms present in all liquid biomaterials: saliva, tears, sperm, blood. The insidious virus successfully circulates even in breast milk. Its greatest accumulation is observed in the blood, vaginal secretions and seminal fluid.

Common routes of transmission:

  • unprotected sexual intercourse;
  • to a child from the mother during pregnancy or breastfeeding;
  • blood transfusion with pathogenic microorganisms;
  • using reusable syringes and medical instruments without disinfection;
  • transplantation of an HIV-infected organ.

HIV is not transmitted through tactile contact. Insects are also not carriers. There is a slight risk of infection when sharing hygiene items with an infected person - razors, nail clippers or scissors.

The risk group includes the following categories of women:

  • addicted to narcotic drugs;
  • having a drug-addicted sexual partner;
  • having sexual intercourse without using condoms;
  • health workers;
  • who used a blood transfusion service without a prior HIV test.

Even those in close relationships with an HIV-infected person are not guaranteed to become infected if they use external contraceptives. The intensity and timeliness of the treatment that the sick partner undergoes is of no small importance.


HIV is a virus that weakens a person's immune system and makes the body more prone to opportunistic diseases and infections.

Although there is no cure for HIV infection, it can be controlled with the help of special medications. People with the virus can live healthy lives with proper medical care and medications.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the virus and significantly improve quality of life. For men, being able to detect early symptoms can help lead to a faster diagnosis.

The article was written based on materials from Medical News Today magazine.

Symptoms of the stage of secondary diseases

Due to the fact that the immune system is not able to attack foreign infectious agents, many other diseases are associated with HIV. In addition, the body loses control over mutations, and malignant tumors appear (usually lymphomas, Kaposi's sarcoma). The immunodeficiency virus is usually accompanied by the following diseases:

  • tuberculosis of the lungs, bones, kidneys, etc.;
  • meningitis;
  • toxolasmosis;
  • mycosis with systemic damage;
  • herpetic bronchitis;
  • leukoplakia;
  • Pneumocystis pneumonia;
  • generalized salmonellosis;
  • shingles.

Development mechanism

Outwardly, HIV looks like an exotic flower, it is extremely fragile, it dies instantly when boiled, but it survives well in the internal secretions of the human body and tolerates freezing well. At room temperature it can live and remain dangerous for up to 6 days.

Once in the human blood, the immunodeficiency virus begins to search for and attack cells that have CD4 receptors, on which it will sit. And he finds it. It turns out that all cells of the immune system are equipped with such receptors, and in particular, T-helpers or helpers, as they are called in Russian. These are very important cells; they are present in all immunological reactions and regulate them.

The virus belongs to the retrovirus family and is an RNA virus. This means that he is able to “figure out” how to survive on his own. HIV finds the desired target cells, adsorbs to them and fuses with them. Having removed its shells, it uses an enzyme (reverse transcriptase) to build its own DNA from its own RNA, which is then integrated into the genome of the cell. Thus, human cells are used by the parasite for its own reproduction, where it becomes the host, and immunocompetent cells lose their purpose and simply die en masse.

All this is also dangerous because from now on the virus will be transmitted to offspring, which is called vertical transmission, that is, a woman who has such a virus can pass it on to her child during pregnancy. HIV belongs to the Lentiviride genus and causes slow-onset viral infections.

Stages of AIDS development and characteristic symptoms

The first stage of the disease does not manifest itself in any way, since during this period the virus incubates. During this period, the virus is actively reproducing; this stage lasts from several months to a year.

At the second stage of development, which is called primary, the virus also continues to successfully camouflage itself and manifests itself only when the immune system is initially severely weakened. At the same time, it is still easy to confuse it with other infectious diseases. Diagnostics carried out during this period can reveal the presence of a virus, since during this period the body begins to actively produce antibodies, that is, the immune system works and tries to cope with pathogens.

( 2 ratings, average 5 out of 5 )
Did you like the article? Share with friends:
Medical center
For any suggestions regarding the site: [email protected]
Для любых предложений по сайту: [email protected]