With all the news and articles about HIV, you are probably aware of what it is. But do you have an idea what it can really do to your body?
To begin with, HIV means Human Immunodeficiency Virus that destroys CD4+ cells. This is vital for our immune system to work efficiently. When HIV starts to affect your body, you would soon see a number of symptoms. This is dependent on the condition of your health and how early you have been diagnosed.
Most people mistakenly identify HIV as synonymous to AIDS. But that’s actually not true. AIDS or the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the last stage of HIV. This is where your immune system is considered at its weakest. Please note that people with HIV will not necessarily have AIDS as long as you receive early treatment.
This article will show you what can happen to your body if infected with the virus.
What are the symptoms of HIV?
Below are the common symptoms of HIV. However, some people might not have too many symptoms.
- night sweats
- sore throat
- joint pain
- weight loss
- muscle aches
- shortness of breath
- genital ulcers
- swollen lymph nodes
Effects of HIV on your body
HIV can decrease your appetite and can also target your digestive system. Oral thrush is also likely to happen. This is when you will notice a white film on your tongue. Additionally, it can affect your esophagus which makes it harder to eat normally.
Cardiovascular and respiratory system
If a person has HIV, they are at risk of having pneumonia, colds, and influenza. If not treated right away, it can lead to worse health conditions like tuberculosis and even pneumocystis carinii pneumonia or PCP. When you have the latter, you might experience fever, cough, and troubles in breathing. Lung cancer is also possible to occur so one must take necessary precautions.
Central nervous system
For those who will not address their condition properly, anxiety and depression might happen. In some cases, it can lead to memory impairment, psychosis, and hallucinations.
If you must know, signs of HIV can be seen on skin. Herpes can happen and it can develop around your mouth and even the genitals. Eczema, scabies and skin cancer are health conditions you also have to watch out for.
How to stay healthy even if you have HIV?
When you are tested positive for HIV, it can stir up a lot of emotions and questions. It sometimes feels that you are going crazy and hopeless. But it is important to note that HIV can be managed with the use of HIV medicines. Apart from the medications, here are some of the ways that can help you stay healthy even with your current condition.
Stay physically active
You should still exercise and do physical activities even after being diagnosed with HIV. People with HIV can experience loss of muscle mass. Hence, it is advisable to still workout.
Choose your diet
Always have a balanced diet. If you can get help from professionals like a nutritionist or dietitian, that would be good. That way, you won’t get overweight or underweight. Plus, you can avoid food which can trigger infections and allergies.
We understand that it can be stressful to know that you are HIV positive. But your mental health is equally important. Make sure that you practice meditation. If you believe you need to seek professional help to manage your stress, then do so.