HIV Symptoms In Women
HIV transmission is from one person to the other through coming into contact with infected vaginal
fluid, semen, or infected blood. People who have unprotected sex with infected people are at a greater
risk of infection. This can be vaginal or anal sex. This could also be through oral sex if there is a cut or an
open sore in the mouth. HIV is also transmitted through sharing of needles, syringes, and other drug
equipment with infected persons.
HIV in Women
According to reports by CDC, women make up about 20% of new infections reported in 2014. In most
cases, the infections were from men to women. About 87% of the HIV infection cases involved
heterosexual sex with the remaining percent being dominated by intravenous drug injections. There is a
noticeable decline in new HIV diagnosis in women as compared to men. There was a significant 40%
drop of new cases of HIV diagnosed women from 2005 to 2014.
HIV and Pregnancy
It is possible for HIV to be transmitted from a mother to a child during child birth. This is called perinatal
HIV. It is also possible for a mother to infect their child through breastfeeding. This is why medical
practitioners ensure that all mothers are tested for HIV throughout the pregnancy. In cases where the
mother is HIV positive, the mother-to-child transmission can be prevented through antiretroviral use
during the pregnancy. Cesarean birth and antiretroviral therapy for the baby after birth can help prevent
HIV Symptoms In Women
Symptoms of HIV vary with individuals. However, there are common patterns that the infection follows.
After infection, it takes the body between 2 to 4 weeks to start reacting with the infection. This is when
the early symptoms show. The symptoms can easily be confused with flu or common cold. About 80% of
people with acute HIV infection will experience these flu-like signs and symptoms. In some cases, the
symptoms will take years to show. This explains why medical practitioners emphasize on regular HIV
tests for sexually active people or before getting into a sexual relationship.
The symptoms of HIV in women will vary depending on the stage of the infection. These stages include:
– Acute HIV which is the new infection stage
– Asymptomatic stage which is the stage without symptoms
– Advanced stage which is also referred to as AIDS
Acute HIV Stage Symptoms in Women
The following are the common symptoms in this stage:
– Sore throat
– Severe headaches
– Body rash
There are also other symptoms that are less common in this stage:
– Muscle and joint aches
– Swollen lymph nodes
– Vaginal infections including bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections
– Night sweats
– Mouth ulcers
During this stage, the symptoms will mostly last for a week or two.
Once the acute HIV stage symptoms disappear, the asymptomatic stage begins. This stage does not have
any symptoms and might take months or years before there are other symptoms. During this stage, the
HIV virus is replicating and breaking down the immune system. The virus can still be transmitted which
explains why it is important to get tested even if there are no symptoms.
Advanced HIV Stage(AIDS) Symptoms in Women
In the absence of treatment, it will take the virus months or years to destroy the body’s immunity
beyond repair. This stage of HIV is what is referred to as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, AIDS.
During this stage, the immune system is severely damaged and this leaves the body at a high infection
risk. The body will be greatly affected by infections that it would otherwise fight without the need for
AIDS Symptoms in Women
– Recurring chills
– Recurring fever
– Rapid weight loss
– Shortness of breath
– Mouth sores or ulcers
– Pelvic inflammatory disease
– Vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections
– Recurring night sweats
– Swelling of the lymph nodes for a long period
– Confusion, memory loss, or neurological disorders
It is important to get tested to know your status because we cannot depend on signs and symptoms
only. You can get tested annually or when you are about to get in to a sexual relationship just to be sure
and help prevent the infection.