casino siteleri

HIV: It Effects on The Human Body


HIV is one of the most common STDs affecting several people even without their knowledge. Although most people have heard about HIV, they do not know how it affects the body.

It affects the body in several ways. It destroys the CD4 cells, also known as the helper or T cells. These cells are vital in the body’s immune response. CD4 cells help in keeping the body healthy and protecting it from common infections and diseases. Go through this blog post  to know about the effects of HIV on human body and .

What happens when HIV enters the body?

When Human Immunodeficiency Virus enters the body, the virus attacks the immune system directly. The level of progress the virus makes on the system varies, depending on the following:

  • The overall health condition
  • Time of diagnosis
  • Age

The time of treatment will also make a difference in the effect of HIV on the infected person.

This virus mainly targets the cells that fight off diseases and infection in the body. With more replications, the virus destroys and damages the infected CD4 cell, producing more HIV that affect more CD4 cells.

If the HIV positive person does not receive treatment, the cycle continues until the immune system becomes highly compromised. This leaves the infected person at risk of severe infections and illnesses.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the final stage of HIV. When the infection gets to AIDS, the immune system would have been severely weakened, with a higher risk of contracting opportunistic infections.

However, some HIV infections do not develop into AIDs. The earlier an infected person gets treatment, the higher the chances of living a healthier and longer life.

Immune system

Our immune systems prevent the body from contracting some infections and diseases that come their way. The immune system comprises white blood cells, which defend the body against bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that cause sicknesses.

During the initial phase of HIV infection, mild symptoms may occur, which most people dismiss as common illnesses. After the first few days of contracting HIV, the infected person may experience flu-like symptoms that last for some weeks. This stage of HIV is known as the acute infection stage or acute HIV.

Acute infection of HIV

Anyone infected with HIV may not experience any symptom during the acute stage, but the virus would be in a high amount in the infected person’s blood because the virus reproduces rapidly.

Symptoms in the acute stage may include:

  • Night sweats
  • Diarrhoea
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Genital or mouth ulcers
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Joint pain

Chronic HIV infection

The stage following the acute HIV infection is the chronic infection stage. This stage usually lasts for about 10 – 15 years. An infected person may show symptoms at this stage, but some may not show symptoms.

As the infection progresses, the virus increases in the body, drastically reducing the CD4 count. This may lead to the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Rash
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath


Untreated HIV advances to AIDS, which increases the risk of having opportunistic infections. AIDS predisposes the infected person to different infections, including the herpes virus known as cytomegalovirus (CMV). This infection can cause eye, digestive tract, and lung problems.

Another possible infection is Kaposi sarcoma, the cancer of the blood vessel walls. This condition is rare amongst the general population but common in people with advanced HIV. Its symptoms include dark purple or red lesions on the skin and mouth. It also causes digestive tract, lungs and other internal organ problems.

AIDS and HIV increase the risk of developing lymphomas; an early symptom of lymphoma is swollen lymph nodes.

Respiratory and cardiovascular problems from HIV

HIV makes it difficult for the body to fight off respiratory problems such as flu and common cold. Anyone with HIV infection will likely suffer from respiratory infections and problems, such as pneumonia.

If an infected person does not get treatment, the infection will advance. This puts the infected person at a high risk of developing infectious complication, such as tuberculosis and fungal infections such as Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia (PJP). Symptoms of PJP include cough, fever, and breathing issues.

The risk of having lung cancer is higher for HIV positive persons because different respiratory issues affect an infected person’s lungs since the immune system is weak.  Research shows that lung cancer is more common in people with HIV compared to those living without HIV.

HIV positive persons are likely to develop high blood pressure. It also increases the risk of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). PAH is a high blood pressure affecting the arteries which supply blood to the lungs. After some time, PAH begins to strain the heart, leading to heart failure.

A positive patient with a low CD4 count is more susceptible to tuberculosis (TB). TB is an airborne bacterium affecting the lungs, and it is a leading cause of death in those with AIDS. Its symptoms include a severe cough containing phlegm or blood and chest pain. Sometimes, the cough lingers for months.

Digestive system

The HIV’s effect on the immune system makes the body more susceptible to a digestive system infection. When the digestive system is infected, it could reduce the appetite, which makes eating difficult. Digestive system infection also results in weight loss, which is a common side effect of this virus.

Oral thrush is a common infection linked to HIV. It is a fungal infection that leads to white patches and inflammation of the oesophagus, making swallowing and eating difficult.

A viral infection that also affects the mouth of infected patient includes oral hairy leucoplakia, which leaves white lesions on the tongue.

Salmonella infection, transmitted through contaminated water or food, causes abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. This infection can affect anyone, but those have an increased risk of developing severe complications from the infection.

Salmonella infection affects the intestines and bile ducts. It also causes chronic diarrhoea in people living with AIDS.

Central nervous system (CNS)

HIV does not directly infect the cells in the nervous system, but it infects the cells surrounding and supporting nerves in the body and brain. The link between neurological damage and HIV is not clear, but the infection of nerve supporting cells contribute to nerve injury.

Advanced stages can cause nerve damage known as neuropathy, which leads to numbness and pain in the hands and feet. HIV can cause small holes in the peripheral nerve fibres conducting sheaths, a condition called vacuolar myelopathy. The holes may lead to weakness, pain and difficulty in walking.

Some significant neurological complications that may develop include HIV-associated dementia. This condition affects cognitive function and toxoplasma encephalitis caused by a parasite found in cat faeces.

A weakened immune system in those living with AIDS also increases the risk of brain and spinal cord inflammation due to toxoplasma encephalitis infection. Common symptoms of this parasite include seizures, confusion, and headaches. Seizures may also occur due to some nervous system infections.

Common complications of AIDS and HIV include, but not limited to the following

  • Anxiety
  • Memory impairment
  • Depression

Stress occurring due to this infection can also cause mental health issues. In advanced stages, frank psychosis and hallucinations may occur. Some people may experience coordination issues, headaches and vision issues.

Integumentary system

People often notice people with HIV and AIDS from the nature of their skin. When the immune response is weak, the affected person becomes more prone to viruses like herpes. Herpes may cause sores around the genitals and mouth.

HIV increases the risk of developing shingles by reactivating herpes zoster, the virus that causes chickenpox. This condition causes painful rashes and may lead to blisters.

This sexually transmitted virus also predisposes the infected person to molluscum contagiosum infection, which causes an outbreak of skin bumps. Another common condition in people is prurigo nodularis which causes crusted lumps on the skin and severe itching.

HIV increases the risk of developing other skin condition like:

  • Skin cancer
  • Scabies
  • Eczema
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

Most symptoms above are mainly due to a compromised immune system. However, an infected person can prevent most effects of HIV infection with antiretroviral treatment to get health benefits of sex in later life. Antiretroviral treatment helps repair and preserve the immune system.

Additional treatments like creams for skin conditions and medications for high blood pressure are also available to help people live a longer and healthier life

HIV symptoms range from mild flu-like symptoms in the initial stages to neurological respiratory, digestive and cardiovascular issues. If you notice any of the common HIV symptoms, ensure you book a private HIV test as soon as possible.

Related Articles

Back to top button