HIV Symptoms Men Need to Know About
By now, we hope that people can hear that there are HIV symptoms men need to know about and not assume that we are referring only to gay men. The fact is, a strong stigma still exists around the topic of HIV and whom it affects. With all of the medical research we have, misguided notions still run amok. As a result, this misinformation prevents many people from being tested at all.
The truth is, everyone needs to get tested. This is true regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race. While certain groups may seem to be more “at risk” than others, you can never know your status for sure until you have been tested.
What Is HIV?
Basically, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune system. This damages the carrier’s ability to fight off infections. It is passed from person to person through contact with infected bodily fluids, including blood, semen, and vaginal fluids. While there is no cure for HIV, treatment has made significant advancements in recent years. As a result, those living with this infection can live a happy and healthy life.
All Men Need to Get Tested
Statistically, men who have sex with men face increased chances of contracting HIV. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gay and bisexual men often face higher risks than anyone else. As with any infection, it is important to be aware of the risk factors and take appropriate measures for safety.
That said, by no means does the notion that “HIV is a gay disease” hold any weight. If you are sexually active, you are at risk. Over 1.2 million people in the US are carriers. The CDC estimates that 51% of Americans aged 13-24 who have HIV don’t know they have it.
Ultimately, the only way to know for sure it to be tested. The more of us who know our status, the easier it will become to stop the spread of infection.
HIV Symptoms Men May Experience
The HIV Symptoms men need to deal with are often the same as the symptoms of HIV in women. In any HIV occurrence, there are three stages of the disease’s progression to look out for:
Stage 1: Acute illness:
This stage may not occur in all carriers. If it does, it will usually occur 2-4 weeks after exposure to the infection. HIV symptoms men and women may experience during this stage often resemble common symptoms of the flu. These include:
- body rash
- sore throat
- severe headaches
- swollen lymph nodes
- ulcers in the mouth or on the genitals
- muscle aches and joint pain
- nausea and vomiting
- night sweats
Stage 2: Asymptomatic period:
During this seemingly dormant stage, the virus is replicating within your body. However, you won’t experience any side effects. Though you don’t feel sick, the virus is actively weakening your immune system.
Stage 3: Advanced infection:
This is the last stage of HIV. By this point, your immune system has been seriously damaged. You may more frequently get colds, flus, and fungal infections and have a harder time fighting them off. Without proper treatment, these everyday illnesses can become life threatening. During this stage, you might experience the following symptoms:
- rapid weight loss
- shortness of breath
- night sweats
- rashes, sores, or lesions
- swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpits, groin, or neck
- memory loss, confusion, or neurological disorders
It’s Time for Testing
The stigma we discussed above is no reason to avoid getting tested. Far too often, many people let embarrassment or fear prevent them from visiting a clinic. We get it – it isn’t exactly easy talking to a stranger about your sex life, even if that person is a medical professional. Now you can avoid any awkward conversations or inconvenient appointments by testing at home. The truth remains: testing is the only way to know whether or not you are HIV-positive.
Early detection can stop the spread of HIV among unknowing carriers and their partners. Whether you test in-person at a clinic or choose to test from home, the key is simply to get tested.
Just order an at-home HIV testing package from myLAB Box. In fact, you can also test for other common STDs such as syphilis, herpes and gonorrhea. You can take the test in the comfort of your home (or dorm room, or partner’s – whenever, wherever!). myLAB Box even pays the shipping for you to send it back. Voila! That’s it. You’ll get your lab-certified results are sent securely and privately!
HIV can be prevented by taking control of your health with careful and important measures.
Don’t Just Test Once
As you can see from the acute and asymptomatic stages listed above, HIV can be deceptive. You may not experience any detectable symptoms. Without these red flags, you’ll never know your status. Ultimately, this is why regular screenings are so important. In fact, the CDC recommends that all adults aged 18 to 65 be screened for HIV on a routine basis.
PrEP and HIV prevention go hand-in-hand. This once-a-day pill is perfect for people who are HIV-negative, but are at high risk. PrEP blocks the enzyme known as “HIV reverse transcriptase.” Basically, it prevents an HIV infection from spreading. Often, partners of people who are HIV positive take this medication as a way of preventing them from contracting the infection. This daily regimen can reduce the risk of an infection by up to 92%.
Condoms & Safe Sex
Fortunately, some HIV symptoms men experience can be avoided by wearing a condom. This is true for any sex act, including anal and oral sex. Using a latex or polyurethane condom every time you have sex is one of the best ways to protect yourself. That said, condoms do not always protect against STDs and HIV. No matter what, regular testing is critical for all of us. Again, this is the only way to truly know your status.