HIV attacks the immune system of the body, destroying cell that helps the body combats diseases. A higher number of men are living with the virus than women in the United States.
People with HIV can live normal healthy lives without the risk of transmitting the virus to others with proper treatment of antiretroviral medication.
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Symptoms of HIV in men
The early HIV symptoms are usually elusive and undefined in men. Early symptoms of the infection are usually frequently mistaken for flu or another mild condition. This may make most men underrate the symptoms and put off seeing a doctor until the symptoms deteriorate, at which time the infection might be very advanced.
Early signs and symptoms of HIV
Early signs and symptoms of HIV are generally elusive in men. People may easily mistake them for minor health conditions. Men can experience flu-like symptoms some days to weeks after contracting the virus, which may include:
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Less common early HIV symptoms include:
- ulcers on the genitals
- night sweating
- ulcers in the mouth
- swollen lymph nodes
- nausea or vomiting
- joint pains
- sore muscles
Timeline of HIV
HIV usually advance through three stages. Each stage has particular characteristics and symptoms.
Stage 1: Acute phase
This stage occurs 2-4 weeks after transmission, and not every person will notice it. Typical symptoms are similar to flu and may include chills, fever, and sickness. Some people do not realize they have the virus because their symptoms are mild and they do not feel sick.
People usually have a substantial amount of virus in their bloodstream, which means that it is easy to transfer in to another person.
Stage 2: Clinical latency
This stage can last for 10 years or more if the person does not receive treatment. It is marked by an absence of symptoms, which is why this is phase is also known as the asymptomatic phase. A medication known as antiretroviral therapy (ART) can control the virus in this stage. This means the HIV does not progress further at this stage. Also, the chance of passing on the virus to someone else is slim.
While the virus is still reproducing in the bloodstream, it may do so at levels that are untraceable by testing. If someone has undetectable levels of the virus for at least 6 months, they cannot pass the virus on to others through sex.
Stage 3: AIDS
This is the most deadly stage when the amount of virus in the body has overwhelmed the body’s population of immune cells. Symptoms of this stage include:
- weight loss
- swollen lymph nodes
At this stage, the immune system is very weakened, which allows infections to take the body by storm.
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How often should a man get tested?
Men who are sexually active should get tested for HIV at least once in a year as part of their routine health care.
According to the CDC, everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should take an HIV test.
The CDC also recommend that people with specific risk factors should take a test at least once a year. This recommendation applies to gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men, and users of injectable drugs.
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Besides these formal recommendations, everyone who may have been exposed to HIV or had sex without a condom should also take a test.