Up to one fifth of people that contract the HIV virus, end up experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as vomiting and fatigue during the first week of becoming infected. Unfortunately, these onset symptoms will not lead to a positive diagnosis of the virus. If an individual has been exposed to the HIV virus, it is imperative that they are properly tested for it. The only way to know if you are infected is to be tested. People that have contracted the virus, and have not been tested will discover that they have contracted the virus, after it has reached a specific state of progression.
Rates of Exposure
For adults residing in the United Kingdom, and various other developed areas of the world, there are two primary ways that HIV is transmitted. The HIV virus is transmitted through unprotected sexual acts with an infected person, and by sharing dirty needles for drug use. Due to the fact that HIV does not have any specific early warning signs that set it apart from other nonchalant forms of infection, knowing that you have been exposed to the virus is the best way to determine if you need to be tested. Be aware, that during the initial stage of HIV, your tests may come back negative, yet you still have the virus.
The initial stages of HIV are known as the acute infection stage. People within this stage may experience flu-like symptoms within the first two to four weeks. Some of the symptoms that individuals may experience at this time include: swollen lymph node glands, fever, problems with digestion, and general aches and pains. There are some people that do not have any symptoms at this state.
There are two additional stages to the virus. These stages are known as the Symptomatic stage and the asymptomatic stage. During the asymptomatic stage, individuals will not have any symptoms. They will feel as though everything is normal. This stage is actually the longest stage of the virus, with the symptomatic stage occurring shortly before the virus mutates into AIDS. The asymptomatic stage can last for ten to twelve years in most cases.
Due to the fact that the first ten years that an individual has the virus are marked by an absence of symptoms, the only way to determine if you are infected is by getting tested. These days, most sexually active adults get tested for HIV and STDs about once a year. The virus is something that will never go away, if contracted, but knowing sooner than later, can help to slow down the progression of the illness. Testing will allow the virus to be detected prior to it progressing into the symptomatic stage. This will allow an individual that has become infected with the virus, to take proper steps in protecting others from contracting the virus.
The only early warning signs of HIV are the signs that others may neglect as being something completely and totally different than what it is. HIV is a hidden virus that can shield itself for ten to twelve years, before the obvious symptoms begin to show. Testing is the only definite way to determine if you are infected, and testing is the only way to prevent yourself from infecting others.