Symptoms of HIV in Men
HIV in men can have a range of signs and symptoms which include fatigue, flu-like symptoms, weight loss, and dementia.
The symptoms that appear in men infected with the HIV virus will not vary differently from women. Other than menstrual and vaginal changes all the signs and symptoms will almost be the same in both men and women.
Between two patients, there can be an important variation in HIV symptoms. Two HIV-infected men will not have the same experience.
Taken generally, this is the usual pattern that occurs in an HIV infection affecting men:
- Flu-like illness: This may or may not happen. If it happens, most likely it will occur 1-2 weeks after infection. The symptoms would include chills, sickness, and fever.
- Latency phase: A very long asymptomatic period that could stretch to 10 years.
- Final phase: The highly weakened state of the immune system is unable to ward off many different infections.
A serious flu-like sickness would be the earliest symptom that will be manifested by HIV-infected men. It is also referred to as the ‘seroconversion illness’. At this point, it is where the blood of the infected person is being converted to HIV positive. This conversion makes the infected person experience flu-like sickness that will have the following symptoms:
- Significant loss of weight
- Painful headaches
- Diarrhea and sickness
- High- grade fever
- Extreme muscle pains and aches
- General weakness and fatigue
Rashes and ulcers
Odd skin problems can happen either on the early phase or late phase of an HIV infection in men:
- There may be a development of painful ulcers in the throat or mouth which does not disappear causing difficulty in eating.
- There will be an appearance of rashes in the moist parts of the body such as the anus, groin, and penis.
- The rashes may either be painless or itchy.
- They may also appear on the palms of the hands, neck and face, and body or chest.
The latency phase is an asymptomatic stage that may take up to 10 years after infection. This is the time when you feel perfectly fine and healthy and may even look well. Yet, this is also the busiest time for the HIV virus as it takes over the white blood cells of the body and in the process destroys the immune system.
Some HIV-positive men have complained of severe swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin or neck or both during this phase. This is the only symptom in men that has been noted for this stage.
It may take years of being symptom-free, but the infection from the HIV virus will eventually devastate the immune system. This leaves the very weak immune system open to all opportunistic infections that could normally be warded off by a healthy one. These will be the symptoms:
- Impaired motor skills accompanied by dementia and confusion.
- Fungal infections that cannot be healed despite application of numerous anti-fungal medication.
- Recurring viruses, colds, and flu.
If any or all of the symptoms is being experienced, the best to do is to have an HIV test done as early as possible so treatment can still be applied before it is too late.