In the initial years after infection a woman may well show no symptoms of HIV infection and may remain reasonably healthy and symptom free. Though women could experience some general or flu like symptoms within a few weeks of infection, in other cases it could be as many as 8 or nine years after the infection that the first symptoms of the disease may become evident and the only way of detecting the infection could be a blood test.
The first symptoms of HIV infection are usually flu like symptoms such as fever, a sore throat, aches and pains, a rash and weakness, tiredness and so on. The symptoms may be vague and general such as shortness of breath and a persistent cough but they could indicate an important message of a slowly weakening immune system.
The symptoms first start to appear when the body no longer has a strong enough immune system capable of withstanding common infections.
Without the HIV infection the normal antibodies can protect the body against such invasions.
Other common early symptoms of HIV infection are those relating to the digestive tract.
Frequent diarrhea, poor appetite, poor digestion, could occur due to the imbalance of the flora lining the gastrointestinal tract. As the beneficial bacteria there diminish, other opportunistic bacteria take hold, lowering the efficacy of the body’s digestive system.
After a while, there could be unexplained weight loss, night-time disturbances such as night sweats, unusual tiredness or fatigue that a person starts to experience. There could also be swelling noted in the lymph nodes, the armpit of the groin area.
Skin rashes could also be among the symptoms of HIV infection and may manifest as pink, brown or reddish lesions on the skin. The mucus membranes such as those inside the mouth could also experience infections frequently.
Symptoms of HIV Infection in women
As the immune system of a woman weakens, she may start to experience frequent vaginal infections such as yeast infections, genital ulcers or warts, pelvic inflammatory disease, herpes infections and so on.
These infections could be recurrent and difficult to treat. The woman may also have abnormal pap smears that indicate the underlying problem.
The emotional and neurological symptoms of HIV infection – HIV and AIDS tend to slowly impact all of the body’s systems and clinicians have long recognized that there are not just physical symptoms but also emotional impact that the infection could have. The constant fatigue that is one of the symptoms of the infection can also negatively impact a woman’s life quality adding to the problems.
A woman may feel unusually emotional or depressed or she may experience memory problems, confusion and changes in her levels of consciousness. There could be cognitive and behavioral changes and even some impairment of motor skills in the later stages.
The neurological symptoms of HIV infection could include tingling of the hands and feet or face. If a woman has a history of having unprotected sex, she should make it a habit of getting tested for HIV on a regular basis to help catch the infection in the early stages.