How To Tell If Someone Has HIV?
Relying on symptoms is not enough to tell if you have HIV. In fact, not all people demonstrate signs of the infection, which makes them unaware that they may have been already infected. Additionally, some symptoms can vary depending on the stage of the disease that an individual is already experiencing.
The only method to know your status is by getting tested. You can follow different tests, although the most effective and accurate seems to be expensive. You will learn about these different types of tests in this article. However, before that, let’s go over the signs and symptoms of HIV.
How to tell if someone has HIV
Like other diseases, symptoms are what signal an emerging medical condition. Although diagnosing HIV is not based on the bodily signs and symptoms, the following can help you determine an impending or already existing infection.
Skin rashes – The first sign of HIV infection is skin rash. It can be itchy, painful, and stinging. Skin rashes usually appear two to six weeks after exposure to the virus. It can occur on the arms, chest, legs, and feet. It can also develop as small bumps or red spots on the skin surface.
Swollen glands – The body’s lymph nodes are also called lymph glands. These are essential body parts that help your immunity fight off infections. The swelling of lymph nodes signals a condition, particularly HIV infection, is present.
Night Sweats – Excessive sweating at nighttime is also a warning that HIV has entered your body. It is also known as sleep hyperhidrosis. It can happen during the acute or chronic period of the infection.
Unexplained weight loss – People with HIV lose weight, especially when the infection is already in its advanced stage. Some of these individuals lose about 10% or more of their body weight, which can be very alarming and dangerous to their health.
Flu-like symptoms – Most of the symptoms of HIV in the acute stage are flu-like. These include fever or chills, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, sore throat, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
Knowing the symptoms of HIV will not entirely help you diagnose the infection. The only effective way is to get tested. The following is the list of HIV tests that people follow nowadays.
Antibody Test – This test looks for antibodies to HIV present in the blood. It is also called an ELISA test or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Aside from blood, this test also checks for the virus in saliva.
Antigen/Antibody Test – If you want the kind of HIV test that detects the virus early after exposure, the Antigen/Antibody test is the right one for you. Its procedure includes drawing blood from your vein and checking it for HIV antigen and antibodies. You can get the result as early as 30 minutes.
Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) – NAT is a test that immediately looks for the actual virus in the blood. It is considered the most effective, especially if you need quick results. However, alongside its efficiency is its high price.
Note: In-home test kits are available if you want more discreet HIV testing. You can get your result within 15 minutes.
If you suspect having been exposed to HIV, consider getting an HIV test. Do not rely on your symptoms. The earlier you know your condition, the better treatment you get by taking daily antiretroviral drugs. Talk to your doctor today or visit your nearest clinic or hub that offers free HIV testing.