In the first stage of HIV, some may experience symptoms, although not every individual who contracts HIV will have symptoms. Two to four weeks after being infected, flu-like symptoms may arise, which include fever, chills, night sweats, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms can last for a few days to weeks. The associated symptoms could be due to a common illness unless you a certain that you have had recent exposure to HIV. If this is indeed the case, consult with your physician to be tested immediately. The key is to be tested and diagnosed in the early stages before it has transitioned to AIDS. While there is no cure, there are drugs available to delay the transition.
There are a variety of diagnostic tools available, such as the antigen/antibody tests, antibody tests, and nucleic acid tests (NAT). Rapid antibody tests screen blood and oral fluids to check for antibodies to HIV. NAT testing is quite expensive and not as commonly used as the antigen/antibody test, but it can detect HIV the earliest out of any other diagnostic tool. Still, the most frequently used test for HIV is the antigen/antibody, which assesses for both antigens and antibodies. The immune system produces antibodies in response to foreign invaders or antigens. The antigen/antibody test can detect HIV antigens before the body can develop antibodies.
The diagnostic process is of vital importance so that early treatment can be initiated. Before discussing the treatment options available, tomorrow, the stages of HIV and AIDS will be reviewed. The summation of the process from HIV to AIDS should further reiterate the importance of early detection. Stay tuned for further information.