HIV Symptoms in Men and Women

Human immunodeficiency virus develops into three different stages with different symptoms.

  • hiv symptoms in men and womenEarly stage: Within a few weeks after the initial infection of HIV, a patient usually experiences flu-like symptoms know as the Acute Retroviral Syndrome or ARS. This stage is where HIV is most contagious. Some of the common symptoms in the early stage of HIV are:
    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle aches
    • Joint pains
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • Skin rash
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • Latent stage: Once the acute retroviral syndrome has passed, HIV doesn’t show any noticeable symptoms for years. This is the latent stage. In this stage, the HIV becomes dormant, but an infected person may notice some swollen lymph nodes.
  • Late stage: In the late stage, the immune system is very much weakened. The patient will then experience symptoms that affect the entire body.

The most common symptoms in women are:

  • Vaginal yeast infections – because of a patient’s weak immune system, this infection usually occurs. Vaginal yeast infection mostly resists common over-the-counter medications in this stage. The most common symptoms are burning, itching, and soreness in the vaginal area; pain when having sex or while urinating; and vaginal discharge.
  • Abnormal PAP smear – women who are HIV positive are more prone to getting a human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that leads to cervical cancer. This is the reason why they need to get a PAP smear every six months to check for any abnormalities.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease – this is an infection in the pelvic organs of a woman that is caused by a bacteria usually from sexually transmitted diseases chlamydia and gonorrhea
  • Irregular menstruations – women who are positive for HIV may have more (or less) frequent menstruations; longer, missed, or heavy periods; amenorrhea; or spotting.

The following symptoms of late HIV stage are common for both men and women:

  • Skin problems – rashes usually develop on moist parts of the body such as the genitals and anus. Some also have ulcers in the mouth and throat which can make it difficult for them to eat. Others experience recurrent fungal nail infections that are very hard to treat.
  • Weight loss
  • Dementia
  • Pneumonia
  • Night sweats