Many people who contract HIV will experience flu-like symptoms during the first few weeks of their infection. These can include fever, sore throat, body rash, and joint or muscle pain, signalling that the immune system has recognised a problem and is resisting a new infection. Of course, these symptoms regularly occur in people who do not have HIV, so the only way to be absolutely certain of your status is to get yourself tested. Better2Know offers HIV testing throughout Australia, detecting the virus as little as 10 days after any potential exposure.
The important thing to remember is that, with the correct supervision, HIV is no longer the life-threatening illness it once was. Early diagnosis means that the virus can be managed and monitored, giving the person the care and treatment that is most appropriate to them.
What happens if I do not get treated?
Though it may take longer to get over less severe illnesses such as the common cold, an HIV positive person can look and feel completely fine for years without any treatment. However, this period of good health increases significantly if the appropriate treatment is observed following a positive diagnosis.
The initial phase tends to be followed by an ‘asymptomatic stage’, which is a longer period involving fewer symptoms. The virus begins to attack the immune system, reducing the levels of CD4 cells which are pivotal in combatting foreign infections and illnesses. As the CD4 count reduces, the immune system grows weaker, potentially leading to symptoms of other conditions.
This is usually a sign that the individual may have entered the third, ‘symptomatic stage’, during which – and owing to such an enfeebled immune system – infections such as pneumonia and TB become far more likely. Indications of other illnesses can include swollen glands, night sweats, tiredness, sudden weight loss, diarrhoea, and an increase in the frequency of cold sore outbreaks. Eventually, the immune system will become unable to cope, effectively enabling the occurrence of other infections. These infections may well be AIDS defining illnesses, leading a person to be diagnosed with the AIDS virus. Such extremes can be avoided, however, and if a patient receives the appropriate treatment early enough, they will not go on to develop AIDS.
HIV Testing with Better2Know
You should consider an HIV test if you or your partner has had unprotected sex with one or more new people, or if either of you has another STI. Likewise, you should contemplate an HIV test or screen if you are pregnant, have shared needles or injecting equipment, or received a tattoo or piercing with an unsterile needle. Regular testing and early intervention are key factors in the fight against HIV. So, keep yourself and your partner safe by getting tested; when it comes to HIV, it is always Better2Know.
To arrange an appointment for an HIV test, or to find out more about our tests, clinics and services in Australia, contact our welcoming Patient Services team today on the telephone number above. Alternatively, you can book online using the Book Now button at the top of the page.