HIV is a common term now that most people are aware of what disease it brings with it. But not many of the unaffected lot know what the symptoms and effects of HIV are. The virus could affect a human body through various stages, and the last stage is what we usually refer to as AIDS. The human immunodeficiency virus destroys the CD4 immune cells in a body, and these cells are critical to staying healthy and protected from any form of diseases. HIV could gradually weaken your body by affecting your immune system and natural defenses, which would be indicated by the various symptoms that occur over time. Many such processes take place within your body by the virus multiplying its presence and attacking the immune system severely. Let us find out how each system of the human body gets interrupted by the entry of HIV.
Attack on the Immune System
The rate at which the virus progresses will depend on your age, the stage at which you are diagnosed, and your overall health. HIV targets those very cells that have been provided in the body to fight such viruses. The replicating cycle of HIV could keep on continuing if proper treatment is provided, leading to serious infections and illnesses. Many of the early symptoms are mild that most people dismiss it; at later stages, the flu-like sickness starts affecting the body. The first stage of HIV, acute infection stage, brings about these symptoms that are relatively less fatal. Fever, chills, sore throat, rash, headache, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, and night sweats are some of the symptoms of the first stage. The second stage is known as clinical latent infection state, and with it comes weight loss, cough, fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes.
Attack on the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
The risks of pneumonia, colds, and influenza increase with the progressing infection by HIV. Advanced treatment cannot help you with this if you aren’t provided with preventive treatment, leading to greater complications like extreme pneumonia, tuberculosis, or pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Lung cancer risk also increases with HIV, and this could be due to the weakened immune system and numerous respiratory issues related to it. People with HIV are more likely to be affected by lung cancer than people without it.
Attack on the Digestive System
Weight loss is one of the most significant symptoms of your digestive system being affected. When such problems hit your digestive tract, your appetite could be decreased, thereby making it difficult for you to eat an adequate amount of food. The difficulty in eating can also be caused by the inflammation of the esophagus and the formation of a white film on the tongue; this condition is called oral thrush. Other infections such as the salmonella and cryptosporidiosis could badly affect the digestive system through contaminated food and water, and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Anyone could get it, but the risk doubles when you have HIV in your body. Nephropathy is also a health issue associated with HIV, and it makes the removal of waste products from the bloodstream harder when the kidneys become inflamed.