HIV in Men
HIV is a disease that occurrences the immune system. The immune system is weakened, making it problematic for the body to fight infections and some cancers. Early detection of HIV helps ensure the timely treatment to control the virus and prevent it from reaching stage 3. Stage 3 HIV is more generally known as AIDS.
Primary treatment using antiretroviral medicines also makes the virus undetectable, preventing it from spreading to other people.
Symptoms of HIV in Men
When contracting HIV, symptoms are very similar to those of any cold, and these can last from two to four weeks. Therefore, it is essential that you go to the doctor as soon as possible and do not minimalise the symptoms or consider them “insignificant.” Pay attention to the following signs:
- The appearance of ulcers in the mouth (similar to canker sores) or on the partner
- Low testosterone
- Erectile dysfunction problems
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Burning in the throat
- Night sweats
- Body rash
- Swollen lymph nodes
Specific Symptoms in Men
The symptoms of HIV are generally the same in women and men. One of the symptoms of HIV that is unique to men is an ulcer on the penis.
HIV can cause hypogonadism, or poor production of sex hormones, in either sex. However, the effects of hypogonadism in men are more accessible to observe than in women. Symptoms of low testosterone, an aspect of hypogonadism, can include erectile dysfunction (ED).
How Common is HIV in Men and Women?
Despite the significant advances made by scientists and researchers regarding the prevention and treatment of HIV in recent decades, it remains a severe health problem in most countries of the world.
According to the Centers for Disease Regulators and Preclusion (CDC), an estimated 39,782 people were diagnosed with HIV in the US in 2016.
Although the number of new diagnoses fell by 5% between 2011 and 2015, about 1.1 million people in the United States still lived with HIV in 2015.
More men than women are living with the virus. At the end of 2010, 76% of all people with the virus in the United States were men. Most of the new diagnoses that year were also in men: about 38,000, representing 80% of all new diagnoses.
Some groups of people are more affected by HIV than others. Among men, 70% of new diagnoses resulted from male-to-male sexual contact in 2014, and another 3% were associated with male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use. In 2016, 44% of new HIV diagnoses were among African Americans, compared to 26% among whites and 25% among Hispanics and Latinos.
HIV evolves in three phases: Each phase has its characteristics and symptoms.
Phase 1: Acute phase
This stage usually occurs 2-4 weeks after the show, and not everyone will notice it.
The usual symptoms are similar to the flu and can include fever, nausea, and chills. Some people don’t realise they have the virus because their symptoms are mild, and they don’t feel sick.
At this stage, you have a significant amount of virus in your bloodstream, which means it’s easy to spread. If a person thinks he might have the virus, he should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Phase 2: Clinical latency
This phase can last ten years or more if treatment is not required. The absence of symptoms characterizes it, so medical professionals may also refer to this asymptomatic phase.
In this phase, a medication called antiretroviral therapy (ART) can control the virus, which means that HIV does not progress. It also means less chance of transmitting the virus to other people.
Although the virus continues to reproduce in the bloodstream, it can do so at levels that health professionals cannot detect. If someone has untraceable virus levels for at least six months, they cannot spread it to other people through sex.
HIV is still increasing inside the body during this phase, but at lower levels than in the acute phase.
Phase 3: HOW
It is the most severe phase, during which the amount of virus in the body has devastated the body’s population of immune cells. Common symptoms of this phase include:
- shaking chills
- weight loss
- swollen lymph nodes
In this phase, the immune system has weakened considerably, allowing opportunistic infections to invade the body.
In the US, most people do not develop AIDS because they have been on ART.
Though there is no cure for HIV, medicines can control it. Infected people can lead healthy lives with proper medical care and medication. Accurate early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the spread of the virus and significantly improve quality of life.
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