Every disease caused by a virus takes some time to reveal its first symptoms after affecting the body; this time is also called the incubation period, which is always different for different viruses; for instance, the incubation period for Influenza is usually 2 days, for Bronchitis it is 2 to 6 days, for Herpes and Dengue, it’s 4 to 8 days, for Measles it is 12 to 11 days, etc.
During the incubation period, the virus’s genomes start to replicate and cause minor infections, like fever, chills, nausea, etc.
A person needs to stay informed about incubation periods of various diseases as the incubation period informs people about the growth and replication of the virus. This can help people take action to heal the disease in its early stages.
This article will discuss HIV in a very detailed manner taking into account its effects and how long it takes HIV to show up?
1. Human Immunodeficiency Virus Or HIV
The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, happens to be a very deadly virus that tends to damage the cells that are present in our immune system. This virus damages cells to such an extent that it can disable a person’s ability to fight even the mildest infection of other illnesses.
HIV is a virus that gets transmitted sexually from one person to the other. HIV is set to destroy white blood cells after invading a body, and HIV can be caused either by HIV 1 or HIV 2 retrovirus. The virus directly attacks the lymphocytes present in the blood.
Lymphocytes are valuable white blood cells that can identify foreign disease-causing organisms that might enter a person’s body. Lymphocytes produce antigens that help the immune system of a person fight against various disease-causing viruses and bacteria.
Lymphocytes can be T cells or B cells. T cell lymphocytes develop inside the bone marrow of a person and they help the immune system to distinguish foreign antigens from self ones, and B lymphocyte cells are also formed from the bone marrow they produce antibodies.
HIV originated in Central Africa in 2019, and around 30,000,000 people worldwide were infected with HIV. HIV is a retrovirus, and it stores its genetic information in the form of RNA upon entering the human body; HIV releases its enzyme- reverse transcriptase, and also its RNA. The enzyme then integrates the DNA of the HIV into the DNA of the cell that it has infected.
Lymphocytes produce antigens that help the immune system of a person fight against various disease-causing viruses and bacteria. Lymphocytes can be T cells or B cells.
T cell lymphocytes develop inside the bone marrow of a person, and they help the immune system to distinguish foreign antigens from self ones, and B lymphocyte cells are also formed from the bone marrow they produce antibodies.
A) B cell Lymphocytes
As it has been mentioned above B cell lymphocytes are formed in a person’s bone marrow they have special receptors that help certain antigens to attach them to the surface of these lymphocytes.
The cell produces specific antibodies that attack a specific antigen. B cells deal with antigens by creating an immune response towards them in two stages primary and secondary.
When these cells come across antigens in a primary manner, they are stimulated when any antigen attaches itself to a receptor, these cells produce a memory of that antigen to identify and eliminate it quickly in the future.
In the secondary response, when b cells encounter an antigen, they quickly develop a response to them due to the memory present. During this response, antibodies are produced quickly compared to the secondary response on the foreign antigen gets eliminated.
B) T cell Lymphocytes
T cell lymphocytes develop inside a person’s bone marrow, and they help the immune system distinguish foreign antigens from self ones. T cells never harm the body’s original antibodies and can identify many different antigens.
They are present in the tonsils, spleen, nodes, appendix, and small intestine and can circulate the blood stream within veins.
T cells are divided into three types- Helper, suppressor, and killer T cells.
The helper T cells produce antibodies against antigens and can even activate the killer cells to eliminate abnormal cells.
The suppressor T cells have a healthy immune response in the body, and finally, the killer cells kill the cancerous cell by rupturing the cell membranes and infusing them with enzymes.
When lymphocytes come across antigens, the plasma cells release antibodies of 5 classes- IgM, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgA. These protect the body in many ways.
They activate phagocytes that can ingest antigens. Antibodies also attack viruses and bacteria and can even eliminate or neutralize anything these bacteria produce.
Antibodies can even activate killer cells to eliminate abnormal cells from this system. Antibodies can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungal infections.
Antibody molecules are Y shaped and have variable and constant parts. Antigens are attached to the variable part of the antibody, whereas the constant part reminds the class of the antibody- IgM, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgA.
IgM class antibodies are produced when an antibody encounters a particular antigen for the first time. This class of antibodies then attaches itself to the antigen ingesting the microorganism.
IgD class antibody is present on the b cells’ surface and helps them mature.
IgE class antibodies trigger an allergic reaction and can help the body take action against infections. They can be found in the blood.
IgG class antibody is reduced to the memory of a certain antigen and protects the body against viruses and bacteria in tissues and blood. This class of antibodies gets transferred from the mother to her fetus.
The IgA class antibody can fight against microorganism invasion and are present in the body’s mucous membranes.
2. How Does HIV Infect A Person?
When HIV enters a person’s body, it directly attacks the immune system, kills all white blood cells (CD4 or T cells), and starts multiplying itself. The immune system of the person tries to produce more white blood cells and also tries to control HIV from multiplying, but it fails, this causes the virus to grow uncontrollably, and soon the number of white blood cells falls in the body.
The person’s immune system becomes weak and vulnerable to all other kinds of infection. Even the mildest infection gets severe due to the body’s inability to fight. These frequent infections grow rapidly and keep reoccurring.
HIV stays in the person’s body in soon destroys the immune system. Infants who have acquired HIV from their mother’s world birth may suffer the most from 8 during their childhood. HIV is a retrovirus, and it stores its genetic information in the form of RNA. Upon entering the human body, HIV releases its enzyme- reverse transcriptase, and also its RNA.
The enzyme then integrates the DNA of the HIV into the DNA of the cell that it has infected. Apart from attacking T cells, HIV also uses the body cells to replicate itself.
As soon as T cells get almost negligible in a person’s body, the person is likely to develop AIDS (Aids is the last stage of HIV) if HIV is not treated in its earlier stage, it can damage the entire system of the patient.
3. Stages Of HIV
Upon entering the human body, HIV directly attacks the immune system, kills all white blood cells, and multiples itself.
The immune system of the person tries to produce more white blood cells and also tries to control HIV from multiplying, but it fails, this causes the virus to grow uncontrollably, and soon the number of white blood cells falls in the body.
If HIV is not identified and eliminated during its early stage, it advances its stages. To know how long it takes HIV to show up, we need to know the stages of HIV. Three stages accompany HIV. These are acute and chronic HIV infections followed by acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
- Acute HIV infection is the first stage of HIV and can occur within a month of HIV infection. since it’s the earliest stage, most patients only show mild flu-like illness with headaches, sore throat, and rash. During this stage, HIV directly attacks a person’s immune system. If proper treatment is provided during the acute stage, the patient can benefit from it.
- The chronic HIV infection stage is the second stage of HIV infection and is often called asymptomatic HIV infection. During this stage, HIV multiplies inside the body, and there are no symptoms of HIV.
- AIDS is the last stage and the most critical stage of HIV infection. Aids happen to be a pattern of infections caused by HIV. They destroy the white blood cells of a person, and aids have caused extreme levels of human losses. Although many medical treatments help patients suffering from aids, the stage is still very lethal.
HIV AIDS can be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse during unprotected sexual intercourse as, during unprotected sexual intercourse, body fluids come in contact with the exposed mucous membrane of the genitalia, and the virus enters the body. Oral sex with an HIV patient can also transmit HIV.
Using contraceptives can reduce but not eliminate transmission.
HIV/AIDS impacts society drastically because aids is also a big source of discrimination. People believe that aids can be transmitted by talking to an HIV-positive person, but this is not true; age has become controversial.
4. How Long Does It Take HIV To Show Up?
About one month later, when HIV has already infected the person, the first few minor symptoms of HIV appear.
This happens in very few cases. In most cases, symptoms do not occur so early. Symptoms usually appear in the acute HIV infection stage vary greatly for different people at different times. During these times, eating healthy is a must.
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During the initial stage of HIV infection, most patients only show mild flu-like symptoms with headaches, sore throat, and rash. During this stage, HIV directly attacks a person’s immune system.
During the asymptomatic HIV infection stage, HIV multiplies inside the body, and there are no symptoms of HIV.
The last stage of HIV occurs after 5 to 10 years of the initial stage. Suppose HIV is left untreated for too long. In that case, symptoms like chills, weight loss, recurring fever, extreme fatigue, lesions around the mouth, chronic diarrhea, sore throat, swelling of glands, bleeding from anus, nose, or mouth, Pneumonia, dry cough, unexplained skin bruising, nausea, seizures, etc. appear during this stage.
5. Symptoms Of HIV
As it has been mentioned earlier, during the first stage, when the virus attacks the immune system of a person, there are very mild HIV symptoms that occur; these early symptoms include fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, rashes, swollen lymph glands, diarrhea, joint aches, etc
During the second stage, when the virus starts to replicate by eliminating the body’s lymphocytes, symptoms of HIV, like yeast infection, a vagina infection that causes a lot of irritation and discharges in the vaginal area, occur.
Vaginal yeast infection has many risks associated with it. It can lead to redness, swelling and the development of rashes in sores in the vaginal area. Other symptoms include white patches on the tongue or Leukoplakia, Nerve dysplasia, shingles, etc.
After this stage, the person’s immune system becomes weak. HIV symptoms of the last stage include chills, weight loss, recurring fever, extreme fatigue, lesions around the mouth, chronic diarrhea, sore throat, swelling of glands, bleeding from the anus, nose, or mouth, Pneumonia, dry cough, unexplained skin bruising, nausea, seizures.
The further symptoms of aids include meningitis which is a fungal infection occurring in the brain or the lungs, encephalopathy a disease that can hinder the functioning of the brain, PML or progressive multifunctional leukoencephalopathy Which happens to be a nervous system disorder, toxoplasmosis Which can also affect the brain, cytomegalovirus which can cause extreme stomach aches, Herpes that leads to genital sores, tuberculosis, etc.
To know how long it takes HIV to show up, we need to be aware of its symptoms.
6. How Does HIV Get Transmitted?
Since HIV is a contagious disease, the virus can be transmitted in certain ways. These include:
• HIV can get transmitted by performing anal sex with an HIV patient. Anal sex Is a guaranteed mode for HIV transmission it can affect both the recipient and the inserter it is dangerous as the virus can enter the body through the mucus lining of the rectum or even through the sores or cuts on the foreskin of the urethra.
• HIV can get transmitted by performing a vaginal sexual encounter with an HIV-positive person. During a vaginal sexual encounter, both partners are at risk of HIV entering the body of the healthy person due to the tissues of the lining of the cervix since HIV can transfer through body fluids like semen or vaginal discharge can transfer HIV from one person to the other.
• HIV can be transmitted from pregnant women to their fetuses while giving birth or feeding breast milk. Mother-to-child transmission is the most common way of HIV transmission. All pregnant women are required for HIV tests during pregnancy to detect HIV sooner because an HIV test can allow people to detect HIV and start the treatment for disease control if the test shows a positive result.
• Sharing syringes or needles with an HIV-positive patient can transmit the virus from one person to the other as these used needles might have the patient’s blood on them, which can carry the virus. Sharing needles can also increase the risk of getting hepatitis B and C.
• HIV does not get transmitted through biting or spitting because HIV is not transmitted through saliva or any other oral fluid.
• HIV does not spread through kissing because HIV is not transmitted through saliva. HIV does not spread even through touching an infected person.
• The rate of transmission of the virus depends on the viral load or the amount of HIV a person is carrying in his or her blood.
7. HIV Prevention
Certain ways to prevent the spread of HIV include:
• Performing HIV test to detect HIV before engaging in any unprotected sex.
• Avoid anal or vaginal sex without contraceptives.
• Limiting the number of sexual partners can prevent many people from being exposed to HIV.
• Avoid sharing needles or any such equipment with other people.
• Using HIV medicines (post-exposure prophylaxis) within 70 hours after a potential HIV exposure can prevent HIV infection. These medicines must not be used regularly.
• The use of drugs and alcohol should be limited because they can tempt people to make rash and improper decisions.
Practicing all these can reduce the chances of HIV spreading from one person to another.
8. Diagnosis and Treatment
To date, HIV has no particular cure due to its undetectable levels. Certain tests can be performed if a person can identify the early symptoms of HIV days after exposure to HIV. These HIV tests include:
• Antibody tests, during the antibody tests, a local health department doctor searches for antibodies in a particular testing site like oral fluid or blood from a vein.
•The second test is the nucleic acid test. The nucleic acid test can detect viruses in the blood of a person.
Rapid antibody tests are one of the most rapid tests performed by drawing blood by finger stick or finger prick method, can draw positive or negative result results within 30 minutes, whereas self-tests require 20 minutes.