Though AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) has been a disease that we have known of for less than 30 years, it is now officially a pandemic, with an estimated more than 33 million people living with the disease worldwide (as in 2007).
AIDS is caused by the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) which progressively decreases the immune system of the body, leaving it prone to disease and infection that it would otherwise be able to fight against. Often HIV signs could be rather hard to identify since they can be non-specific in nature.
The main signs are a person’s susceptibility to conditions, infections and diseases that a person with normal or healthy immunity will not contract. Normally the body is able to fight against fungi, parasites, bacteria and viruses however the HIV virus weaken this immune system of the body, giving rise to HIV signs such infections that could impact any organ of the body.
Increasing incidences of infections are not the only signs; people are also more at risk of developing certain other conditions such as cancers of the immune system or Lymphomas, Kaposi’s sarcoma, cervical cancer and other conditions.
Some of these conditions could be early HIV signs –
- Depression could be one of the early signs – feeling down and low over several weeks could be one of the signs.
- Diarrhea that is unexplained and which recurs could be another one of the HIV signs, which occurs due to depletion of the body’s ability to fight infections that food and water may not cause in others, but which may impact one who is HIV positive.
- Thrushes, the whitish, slate tasting coating that we may at some time have seen coating the inside of our mouth or that of a baby is another one of the signs. Now for the most part you can get rid of thrush, by thorough oral cleaning and brushing; however if the thrush is as a result of an HIV infection, it will not disappear.
- Unexplained weight loss or weight loss that is not due to any particular effort of the person, is also one of the HIV signs. This is called AIDS wasting which should be countered by protein supplements that a health care provider may prescribe to prevent this wasting.
- Tiredness or unexplained fatigue may be another HIV sign – low energy levels and getting tired with little effort are among the signs.
- Painful sinus infections are another thing that HIV positive individuals often suffer from.
- The Fat Redistribution Syndrome or Lipodystrophy is not so much one of the HIV signs but more a symptom that may be caused by HIV medication, that causes fat to reduce from the face, the arms and the legs, which may then redistribute itself and settle around the waist, the jowls and neck. Another problem that AIDS medications could cause is lactic acidosis that causes cell mitochondria to get damaged exacerbating certain HIV signs such as nausea, vomiting, muscle and abdominal pain, muscle weakness etc.