It is essential to understand the process of HIV seroconversion and the symptoms are the chief elements in early detection and treatment of HIV infection. Seroconversion illustrates the process of the body's immune response to either immunization or infection. When the antigen i.e. virus, bacteria, toxins etc. are detected by an immune system, antibodies are formed by the immune system in response to HIV. Forming detectable antibodies to a particular antigen is described as seroconversion. When HIV antibodies are created by an immune system, a person is considered as HIV seropositive.
HIV Seroconversion: Acute Infection Phase
A person may experience acute phase or primary phase of HIV infection after two weeks to three months after the infection. This is the period when seroconversion occurs. In this phase, the body identifies the existence of HIV and response to it by creating the antibodies. It is actually a response of the immune system to the virus. The immune system is overpowered by the virus and the symptoms occur or develop. More often these symptoms can be managed. However, some people may require the treatment for overcoming them. Eventually, the immune system creates enough antibodies that can be detected in the blood test. If these tests are done in the beginning of the phase, the results may appear as negative. It is advisable to go through the HIV tests after six months of HIV infection for recognizing the HIV infection.
Symptoms of HIV Seroconversion
The symptoms of acute phase or primary phase of HIV infection are known as early symptoms of HIV as they appear in the beginning of the HIV infection. The symptoms are given below.
A person may experience flu-like illness that is the most general symptom to find HIV infection. Most of the time, it is misdiagnosed as any other viral infection. It is possible that some of the people may not experience any symptoms. They may become symptoms-free, though they are infected with HIV. Some other symptoms like headache, short-term memory loss, weight loss, fatigue and fever, headache and aching muscles can be identified in an infected person. Symptoms may also involve nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Lymph nodes will be swollen in this phase because the immune system starts to response to the virus.
How to confirm HIV Seroconversion
HIV blood tests are the most useful and trustworthy option for detecting HIV in blood. There are some standard blood tests like ELISA and western blot. HIV tests result may not be reliable after the exposure for up to six months. So, these tests should be confirmed by the confirmatory tests. Retesting is an advisable option for identifying and confirming the HIV in blood. Furthermore, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends annual testing for those who are at high risk of HIV infection.
Treatment for Seroconversion
If HIV Seroconversion has been detected during the acute phase, then ART (anti-retroviral therapy) can be used for decreasing the viral loads. Sometimes, it helps to decrease the viral loads to undetectable levels. Moreover, the ART therapy may be efficient in all stages of HIV infection. It is specifically useful during the seroconversion period. The blood tests are also a better option.
HIV Seroconversion occurs in the acute phase of HIV infection. Seroconversion is the process where the antibodies are created by the immune system to the specific antigen. When these antibodies are detected in the blood tests, it means a person has been infected with HIV. The early symptoms can be seen in the acute stage. Retesting should be done if a person does not show any antibodies. The reason behind it is if a HIV test is done at the beginning of the infection, the result of HIV test may appear as negative.