World AIDS Day: Know the early symptoms of HIV


World AIDS Day: AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is a much dreaded disease which currently has not cure. It is caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and a person who has the condition is susceptible to multiple organ failure and overwhelming infections.

Not every person who gets infected with HIV ends up with AIDS. With proper medication and care, this number is now greatly reduced. But those who do land with AIDS, have multisystem organ failure due to the infection.

HIV infection has become more manageable over the years due to better health facilities enabling people with HIV to lead longer and healthier lives.

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There were an estimated 37.7 million people living with HIV at the end of 2020. In 2020, 680000 people died from HIV-related causes and 1.5 million people acquired HIV, according to WHO.

World AIDS Day is celebrated every year on December 1 to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. It has become one of the most widely recognized international health days and aims to raise awareness, commemorate those who have died, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

Early symptoms

While many people may not show earlier symptoms at all for several years, some will show symptoms resembling flu like fever, headache, fatigue, sore throat among others. These symptoms typically arise within one or two months of the infection, while in some people it can be two weeks.

Dr Bela Sharma, Additional Director, Internal Medicine, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram lists initial symptoms of HIV.

The early symptoms of HIV can include:

* Fever

* Headache

* Fatigue

* Swollen lymph glands

* Rash

* Sore throat

* Muscle/joint pain

* Night sweats

* Diarrhea

* As the condition progresses, people with HIV may develop a weakened immune system.

* Infections that were once minor, such as canker sores in the mouth, or a tooth abscess or cavity, may cause significant pain. It may become more difficult for people with HIV to recover from these infections.

* A person may notice that they have more frequent minor infections, such as colds or yeast infections.

* They may also notice that they are sick more often than before, or for longer periods of time.

* Some people may get very ill from infections that would normally not be life threatening.

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