Did you know that there are four stages of HIV infection! It’s possible for a person to go through all of them if they don’t get treatment or get to know their status on time.
Going through these stages can also be caused by other factors such as immunity, lifestyle, general health, diet among others.
Stage 1: Infection
HIV quickly replicates in the body after infection. Some people will develop symptoms within days, weeks and a month after infection depending on one’s immunity. During this time, the immune system reacts to the virus by developing antibodies (seroconversion).
Stage 2: Asymptomatic
At this stage of the HIV infection, one does not have outward signs or symptoms. The infected person may feel and look well but HIV is continuing to weaken their immune system. This stage may take months or to some people even years and without an HIV test, many may not know that they are infected.
Stage 3: Symptomatic
With time, the immune system becomes damaged and weakened by HIV, and symptoms develop. Initially, they can be mild but worsen over time. This is caused by opportunistic infections as they take advantage of the infected person’s weakened immune system.
Stage4: Progression of HIV to AIDS
This is the last stage of infection and doctors will look for a variety of symptoms such as CD4 count, the viral load, and the presence of opportunistic infections in order to make an AIDS diagnosis.
It’s important to note that not everyone infected with HIV will go through all four stages. Once you find out your status early enough, start medication, have a good diet, you may not see any of these symptoms, and AIDS may never be your nightmare.
Therefore as young people, it’s crucial for us to know our HIV status, go for that test at least once in 3 months, use protection and if we can, abstain.
Written by Jucent Nabbira Patience.