What you need to know about HIV

Would you have thought that the first symptoms of HIV -infection resemble those of a common cold? In the first few weeks after an infection, most newly infected people notice a slight fever, weakness and sore throat. This acute phase is usually followed by the chronic phase, which initially proceeds without symptoms. Therefore it is important that women can avoid these 9 possible symptoms. HIV -New infection. But first a few facts.

New figures prove it: Many people do not make HIV -Test

That HIV can be transmitted during sex without a condom, almost everyone knows that today. And yet, every third person after unprotected sex would not have HIV -test, according to the results of the current study*.

This is a shocking result, because every year people in Germany are still newly infected with HIV In 2017, the number was around 2,700, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute. In 2017, 1,100 Germans received their diagnosis only after they were already seriously ill. And according to projections, 11,400 people in Germany know nothing about their infection.

That’s what your blood results say. The “Red Ribbon” stands for solidarity with HIV -positive people. © Mikhail Kadochnikov / Shutterstock.com

As a reminder: the “human immunodeficiency virus”, in short HIV with the help of new drugs to stop it from multiplying. With their help, infected persons can stop the outbreak of the immune deficiency syndrome AIDS and lead an almost normal, almost symptom-free life. Also HIV not transferable under therapy.

The longer infected the HIV -However, if they carry the virus untreated, the more health problems they suffer. These can be serious infections of all kinds, with consequences up to brain damage. The dramatic thing is that AIDS Once an infection has broken out, the immune system can no longer fend off diseases, resulting in severe, life-threatening illnesses. Even then, treatment can still be started. But often massive health damages remain.

To prevent this from happening, those affected should start medication early on after an infection. Unfortunately, for fear of stigmatisation, too many people still avoid the first step: a HIV -Test.

How can I concentrate on HIV tested?

It is actually the only sure way to find out if you are infected: a HIV -Test. Sexually active women who have had unprotected intercourse should get tested at least once a year if you are not in a committed relationship where both partners have tested negative and are reliably faithful.

There are several testing options, both laboratory tests at the doctor’s, but meanwhile also self-tests that can be carried out comfortably at home. These can be bought at the pharmacy or even simply ordered online (e.g. here at amazon.de: Autotest VHI , INSTI or Exacto). Costs: between 20 and 50 €. Pay attention to the CE -European Union mark of conformity.

The following can be safely ruled out HIV -infection six weeks after infection in a laboratory test or after 12 weeks with a rapid test. An overview of HIV -You can find test possibilities on the website of the German AIDS-Hilfe.

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HIV -tests can be done at the doctor’s, but meanwhile also at home. © Room’s Studio / Shutterstock.com

When should you get tested?

“Most people don’t even register HIV infected,” said Dr. Michael Horberg, who is working in the USA for the treatment of HIV -patient research. Initially there are HIV -infection as mentioned often do not show any symptoms, and if they do, they resemble diseases that may have other causes. But these 9 symptoms should make you alert, they could indicate HIV -infection.

9 possible HIV -symptoms in women

1. you have fever and colds
A recurrent, slightly elevated temperature of about 38 degrees Celsius, accompanied by colds, is one of the most frequent first HIV -symptoms. “Your body is fighting a foreign body, but in this case without success,” says Horberg. Background: With an elevated body temperature, the body normally successfully fights weaker viruses such as cold viruses – for HIV but a slight fever is not enough.

“If there’s a chance you’ve been infected, you should look for HIV tested,” advises Dr. Horberg.

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2. you wake up at night sweating
If, for no apparent reason, you frequently sweat so much at night that you have to change pyjamas and sheets, you should be vigilant. “Your body then tries to eliminate toxins,” explains expert Horberg.

Night sweat does not only possibly indicate HIV but can also be a sign of menopause or certain types of cancer. Dr. Horberg: “You should definitely have night sweats checked by your doctor.”

Condoms can be used before the transfer of the HIV -protect the virus. © Josep Suria / Shutterstock.com

3. you get a rash
Some with HIV infected people develop a slightly reddish rash all over their body, sometimes just a few red spots. The rash usually lasts at least a week and does not itch. It is an inflammatory reaction of the body in response to an infection.

4. you have a sore throat
Inflammatory reactions to serious viral infections can also occur in the throat, causing difficulty swallowing and redness in the throat. “Many different viruses can cause sore throats,” says Dr. Horberg, “but if you are concerned about a possible HIV -…you should see your doctor.”

5. you feel tired and unwell
“In the first few weeks after a HIV -infection, most people simply feel tired and sickly,” explains expert Horberg. The daily routine becomes a challenge. Possible cause: “The fight against the HIV -virus exhausts the body,” said Horberg.

You get dizzy all the time? This could be the cause.

6. you have swollen lymph nodes
If the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits and groin are swollen, this means that the production of infection-resistant cells is in full swing. Horberg: “More than a third of the HIV -Newly infected patients report swollen lymph nodes.” Other diseases also present with these symptoms. If you feel lumps in different parts of your body, this should always be a reason to consult a doctor.

7. you have a fungal infection
Yeast fungus usually peacefully colonize your mouth and vagina. They only become a problem if they grow uncontrollably and cause an unpleasant, itchy fungal infection. And this can also happen, among other causes, if you have been infected with HIV are infected without being treated.

Diseases such as diabetes can also lead to frequent fungal infections, and some women without HIV -infection more often catch a fungal infection than others. However, if the symptoms increase and you have had unprotected sex recently, you should get tested.

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8. you have ulcers in your mouth
“Mouth ulcers are soft, round, whitish spots on the inner side of the lips and can occur as inflammation as a result of the physical defence of HIV -viruses,” said Horberg. Sore spots in the mouth can of course have other causes, but in combination with other suspicious symptoms they should be taken seriously.

9. you lose weight for no apparent reason
“In later stages of an untreated HIV -infection, the body loses fat and muscle mass,” said Horberg. “The virus then causes a loss of appetite and prevents the body from properly metabolising food. Of course your weight fluctuates from time to time. But when people in your closest environment approach you about this, you should become alert.

With medication is despite HIV -infection, an almost normal life is possible. © Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock.com

Getting tested helps to HIV control The United Nations 90-90-90 Programme against HIV /AIDS has set itself the goal of achieving by 2020 HIV …to bring them under control. It says that 90% of all people with HIV know about their infection, 90% of them receive antiretroviral therapy and again 90% of these people in therapy have a viral load below the detection limit. This is the only way to end the epidemic.

None of these symptoms necessarily means that a HIV -infection is present. But at… AIDS to defeat, individually and socially, an infection must be detected early. As soon as you’ve gotten into a situation that has HIV -infection, you have to get tested. This is the only way to succeed, AIDS once and for all.

More information about the topic HIV can be found at the Deutsche Aids-Hilfe.

* The “Is” study commissioned by the pharmaceutical company Gilead Science in July 2018 HIV sorted?” (Is HIV under control?) interviewed about 25,000 HIV -negative adults in twelve Western and Eastern European countries, 2,015 of them in Germany.