HIV Symptoms in Women
HIV Symptoms in Women
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HIV symptoms are more common in women than in men. You cannot judge by looking at someone if they are HIV positive or not. The only way to know someone’s status is by taking the HIV test. You can buy a testing kit at your nearest chemist or get tested in a clinic, dispensary, or hospital.
What are the most common symptoms of HIV you would notice in a woman?
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Early stage – Having a flu that extends up to 2 weeks after getting the HIV virus
Mid-stage – Painful and swollen glands or lymph nodes
Advanced stage – Losing weight, fatigue, and dementia which starts to develop in the last stages
In women, there are common warning signs such as:
1. Pelvic inflammatory disease
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It is a disease that occurs in the woman’s pelvic area like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. These can be termed as the first symptom to occur in the body of a woman. Pelvic inflammatory disease is caused by bacteria that begin proliferating from the cervix up to the fallopian tubes.
Signs of Pelvic inflammatory disease
- You have a fever
- Painful sex
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Unusual menstrual periods
2. Yeast infections
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Women with HIV often get frequent yeast infections. Yeast infections occur due to an imbalance in various organisms and a low immune system.
Signs of yeast infections
- Itchy vagina
- Vagina producing whitish, odorless/fishy-smell discharge.
- Having pain during sex and urinating.
The yeast infection will appear and sometimes disappear due to hormonal changes due to the menstrual cycle.
3. Abnormal Pap smears
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A pap smear is a test that is used to detect cancerous or pre-cancerous compounds that can be found in the cervix. Women living with HIV are typically at a higher risk of contracting HPV (human papillomavirus). It is a growing cell precursor to cervical cancer brought about by human papillomavirus. If HIV virus attacks the cervical cells, the woman is likely to suffer from cancer if it is not found early enough. Women living with HIV especially those infected recently should get pap smears often so as to decrease the chances of suffering from cancer or any other abnormalities.