Over the last decade, HIV and AIDS have affected many people’s lives around the world. Although there is no effective cure, HIV can be controlled with proper treatment and medical care. With antiretroviral drugs and HIV pain management Los Angeles, people with the disease can lead a longer, productive life.
What’s the Difference Between HIV and AIDS?
The terms “HIV” and “AIDS” refer to the same disease, but at different stages. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) refers to the virus itself, while AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) refers to the late stage of the HIV virus infection.
In the early stages of HIV infection, within two to four weeks, most people experience flu-like symptoms that can last from several days to several weeks. This is the body’s way of naturally fighting the infection. Some people don’t show any symptoms for up to 10 years or more. Symptoms can include:
* Sore throat
* Swollen glands
* Muscle and joint aches and pains
After the early stage of HIV infection, the disease moves into a stage called the clinical latency stage where the virus reproduces at low levels. With antiretroviral (ART) medications, it’s possible to stay in this stage for several decades. Without ART, this stage is typically 10 years or less. You can still transmit HIV to others during this stage, even if you have no symptoms.
If you have HIV and you are not treated with ART, the virus will eventually weaken your body’s immune system and the infection will progress to AIDS. Symptoms can include:
* Rapid weight loss
* Recurring fever or night sweats
* Extreme and unexplained tiredness
* Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in neck, armpits or groin
* Diarrhea that lasts more than a week
* Sores in the mouth, genitals or anus
* Red, pink or purplish blotches on or under the skin, or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
* Memory loss and depression
Many HIV and AIDS symptoms can easily be related to other illnesses, so it’s important to talk with your doctor. If you think you have been exposed to HIV, the only way to know for sure is with an HIV test. HIV testing will tell you if you have been infected with the HIV virus, so you can get proper treatment. Without testing, you are putting your health and your life at risk.