About two out of every three new cases of HIV infections in South African women are due to unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected partner. This is according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Sharing infected needles for drug use is another leading cause but not that rampant.

Early symptoms of HIV infection may be mild and easily unnoticed and dismissed. Unfortunately, even without noticeable symptoms, an infected person can still pass the virus onto others. Read on to learn some common symptoms of HIV in South African women.

Early Symptoms can be fleeting in the early weeks after becoming infected with HIV. It is not uncommon for women to be asymptomatic. Some may have mild flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, and lack of energy.

Often, these symptoms go away within a few weeks. In some cases, it may take as many as ten years for more severe symptoms to appear. During this time, the virus can still be transmitted from one person to another.

Top 10 HIV symptoms to look out for in women include : 

10. Swollen Glands.

We all have lymph nodes throughout our bodies, including the neck, back of the head, armpits, and groin. As part of the immune system, our lymph nodes work to fend off infections. As the HIV infection begins to spread, the immune system kicks into high gear.

The result is enlarged lymph nodes, commonly known as swollen glands. It is often one of the first signs of HIV. In people infected with HIV, swollen glands may last for several months. HIV infections makes it harder for the immune system to fight off germs, so it’s easier for opportunistic infections to take hold. Some of these include pneumonia, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C. People with HIV are more prone to infections of the skin, eyes, lungs, kidneys, digestive tract, and brain.

It may also be more difficult to treat common ailments like the flu. Taking extra precautions, including frequent hand washing and taking HIV medications can help prevent some of these illnesses and their complications.

9.Fever and Night Sweats.

People infected with HIV may experience long periods of low-grade fever.

A temperature between 99.8 and 100.8 degrees Fahrenheit is considered to be a low-grade fever. A fever means that something is wrong, but the cause isn’t always obvious. Because it’s a low-grade fever, those who are unaware of their HIV-positive status may ignore the symptom. Sometimes, fever is accompanied by nighttime sweats that can interfere with sleep.

At this point the virus is moving into the blood stream and starting to replicate in large numbers.

8. Fatigue.

The inflammatory response generated by women’s besieged immune system also can cause them to feel tired and lethargic. Fatigue can be both an early and later sign of HIV.

  When this happens, everything little thing they do,they get out of breath. Some people had tested HIV positive 25 years before feeling so tired. Fatigue during acute, or newly contracted, HIV might not be so obvious.

7. Achy Muscles & Joint Pain.

HIV is often mistaken for the flu, mononucleosis, or another viral infection, even syphilis or hepatitis.

That’s not surprising: Many of the symptoms are the same, including pain in the joints and muscles and swollen lymph glands.

Many of them are located in their armpit, groin, and neck.

6. Sore Throat & Headache.

As with other symptoms, sore throat and headache can often be recognized as ARS only in context. If you’ve engaged recently in high-risk behavior, an HIV test is a good idea. Get tested for your own sake and for others: HIV is most infectious in the earliest stage.

Keep in mind that the body hasn’t produced antibodies to HIV yet so an antibody test may not pick it up. (It can take a few weeks to a few months for HIV antibodies to show in a blood test). Investigate other test options such as one that detects viral RNA, typically within nine days of infection.

5. Nausea, Vomiting & Diarrhea.

Anywhere from 30% to 60% of women in South Africa have short-term nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in the early stages of HIV.

 These symptoms can also appear as a result of antiviral therapy and later in the infection, usually as the result of an opportunistic infection.

 Diarrhea that is unremitting and not responding at all to usual therapy might be an indication.

4. Dry Cough.

Have a bad cough that Benadryl, antibiotics, and inhalers don’t seem to fix? 

This symptom—an “insidious cough that could be going on for weeks that doesn’t seem to resolve. It is typical in very ill HIV patients.

3. Tingling & Weakness.

Late HIV can also cause numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. This is called peripheral neuropathy, which also occurs in people with uncontrolled diabetes.

 This is when the nerves are actually damaged. These symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and antiseizure medicines such as Neurontin (gabapentin).

2. Menstrual Irregularities.

Advanced HIV disease appears to increase the risk of having menstrual irregularities, such as fewer and lighter periods.

These changes, however, probably have more to do with the weight loss and poor health of women with late-stage infection rather than the infection itself. 

Infection with HIV also has been associated with earlier age of menopause (47 to 48 years for infected women compared to 49 to 51 years for uninfected women).

1. Yeast Infections.

Another fungal infection that’s common in later stages is thrush, a mouth infection caused by Candida, a type of yeast.

”It’s a very common fungus and the one that causes yeast infections in women. They tend to appear in the mouth or esophagus, making it difficult to swallow.

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