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Sexual health and LGBT population
Living with HIV
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
In the weeks subsequent to the entry of HIV into the body, approximately 30 % of infected individuals will experience symtpoms similar to the flu (influenza) or mononucleosis (fever, headaches, sore throat, skin rash, fatigue, muscular aches and pains, etc.). It is at this stage of the infection that the infected individual is said to be in "primo-infection" or first stage. These symptoms resolve spontaneously with time and the infection then progresses into its second stage. All infected individuals (even those who do not suffer initial symptoms) will develop antibodies against the HIV virus. The presence of detectable antibodies occurs between three weeks and three months. A reliable time frame when considering a screening test for HIV is "3 months elapsed since the last sexual relations that concern you with respect to HIV". Once three months has elapsed and your test results are negative – the result is almost 100% reliable. When positive, this is the state termed as seropositive for HIV.
The virus can live in the body for several years (5-7 years on average, with a great deal of individual variability) without manifesting its presence – this may be termed a latent phase. During this latent phase, there are two more stages; asymptomatic stage 2 (HIV-positive with no HIV related symptoms or problems) and symptomatic stage 3 (HIV-positive with one or more HIV related symptoms. Most patients in stage 2 asymptomatic infection feel well and have no physical complaints pertaining to virus.
The infection passes into the fourth stage when the patient begins to suffer symptoms related to viral progression. Symptoms may include fever, nocturnal sweats, weight loss, swollen and/or sensitive lymph nodes, chronic diarrhea, skin rashes, etc.) Eventually, when the immune system has been severely compromised or damaged, the infection enters into its fourth phase which is AIDS (Pneumocystis Carinii pneumonia, the invasion of the digestive system by mushrooms/yeast, Kaposi’s sarcoma [blue or browm cutaneous cancerous nodules], lymphoma [lymph node cancer], neurological manifestations, etc.)