If we talk about HIV Infection in Women, according to the HIV and AIDS Organization (avert) data, 88,000 new cases of HIV infection were reported in India in 2017. Out of which 34 thousand women were found infected with this virus.
It was also revealed in the same research that only 22 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 24 knew how to prevent HIV. Both of these data can be understood by how little information and awareness about HIV infection in women in India is.
On the other hand, if we talk about the USA, according to the data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 2014, more than two and a half million women are living with HIV.
HIV and AIDS
HIV is a virus whose full form is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It damages the immune system by destroying white blood cells that fight infection. At the same time, the full name of AIDS caused by this virus is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. This is the final stage of HIV. Not everyone gets AIDS due to HIV. There is not much difference between HIV infection in men and HIV in women, but the signs of HIV infection in women may be slightly different from men.
HIV symptoms in women
A few weeks after exposure to HIV, the body moves into the phase when the virus multiplies rapidly. In this period, the patient may have the flu called Acute HIV infection. Other symptoms develop after this initial time especially if treatment is not taken. The following are the symptoms of HIV infection in women.
Vaginal yeast infection
HIV in women increases the risk of Vaginal yeast infection. In this condition, the following symptoms are seen in women.
- Burning feeling around vagina and vulva
- Painful intercourse
- Pain while passing urine
- Thick white colour vaginal discharge
Although women continue to suffer from yeast infection, but due to HIV, this infection is frequent. When a woman has HIV her immune system uses most of its energy to fight the virus. As a result, the patient’s body is not able to combat other infections.
Changes in periods
In some women, their periods change when they have HIV. Some people complain of heavy periods at least. Even if a woman has suddenly lost weight, the period changes. Fluctuations in hormones also cause changes in periods. Because of which women are not able to take this symptom seriously.
Sometimes, HIV infection in women causes mood changes and neurological disorder. There is depression due to which feeling of despair and deep sorrow due to illness. Some women also experience stress and memory loss.
Lower Belly Pain
Loan belly pain is also an indication that there is an infection in the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease. It may show the following symptoms.
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Pain in the upper belly
- Painful intercourse
- Irregular periods
The lymph node resides throughout the body including the larynx, the back of the head, the armpit. Being part of the immune system, lymph nodes store immune cells and filter out pathogens to prevent infection. When infected with HIV, there is inflammation in the lymph node which lasts for several months. This symptom is visible in both men and women suffering from an infection. It is considered an early sign of infection.
When exposed to HIV, the immune system begins to respond to the virus. In such a situation, you may see the following symptoms.
- Light fever
- cold cough
- Running nose or closure
All these symptoms begin to appear two to five weeks after exposure to the virus. Which can last a month or a week. These symptoms look like cold and flu symptoms so people do not connect to HIV. These are common symptoms that appear in both men and women in the early stage of HIV.
When to see a doctor?
According to the CDC, everyone should make HIV test a part of routine care by the age of 13-64. Also, pregnant women must undergo an HIV test. Some women have a higher risk of HIV. Which are as follows.
- Having anal or vaginal sex with someone who is not aware of their HIV status or who is not receiving medication even if they are suffering from HIV.
- Women who inject drugs and share syringes and needles
- Those who have sexually transmitted infection syphilis.
- Those who suffer from tuberculosis and hepatitis
How is HIV diagnosed in women?
Early diagnosis is difficult. Many therapies help the patient manage HIV. Doctors do many types of tests to check for HIV which are as follows.
They detect the presence of HIV antibodies, or immune system proteins, in blood or saliva samples. Rapid and At home are usually antibody tests. They cannot detect HIV in the early stages.
They detect HIV antibodies and antigens or viral components in the blood. Antigen/antibody tests also cannot detect HIV in the early stage.
Nucleic acid tests
It detects the presence of genetic material of HIV in the blood. HIV can be detected at an early stage by this test. If a person has been exposed to this virus and if he has early symptoms, he can talk to the doctor about the nucleic acid test.
How is HIV infection in women treated?
HIV cannot be cured, but it is possible to treat it. Medication can help in this. Doctors give the patient drugs that reduce the rate of multiplication of the virus. These are called antiretroviral therapies. Some people take medicine once a day and some three times a day. If patients do not take medicine, after some time they can become very ill. The HIV patient should not stop taking the medicine without the permission of the doctor.
How does HIV treatment affect a woman’s health?
Treatment with HIV medications is recommended for all people living with HIV. Though, birth control and pregnancy are two problems that can influence HIV treatment in women.
Some HIV medications may reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills, patches, rings, and implants. Women taking certain HIV medications may have to use a different method of birth control.
Pregnant women suffering from HIV use medicines to prevent infection with the child. The HIV regimen used during pregnancy depends on many factors, including the woman’s current use of HIV drugs, other medical conditions, and the consequences of drug resistance testing. In general, pregnant women with HIV can use HIV regimens recommended for non-pregnant women – unless the pregnant woman or her child is aware of any risk.
Sometimes, a woman’s HIV regimen may change at the time of pregnancy. Women should talk to their doctor about whether any changes in HIV regimen are needed during pregnancy?
This article gives the necessary information related to HIV infection in women. For more information, please consult your doctor.