The stage of seroconversion is the first stage of HIV disease. This is not the stage of AIDS and might never lead to AIDS if proper medications and precautions are taken. The symptoms that are common during this stage are very similar to that of flu. This often prompts to inaccurate diagnosis. It has been found that one-third of all the HIV patients, remain unaware about this disease at this stage, as the symptoms are so usual and curable. This stage is also called by a number of other names like the Acute Stage of HIV, Acute Retrovial Syndrome and primary HIV infections.
What is seroconversion?
It is the first stage of HIV. In this stage, the virus starts generating cytotoxic lymphocytes and HIV antibodies that works towards the destruction of the T-cells (seat of immunity in human body). In this stage the HIV, within our blood cells, multiplies very fast, striving to worsen the immune system. This is the longest stage of the HIV infection and lasts for seven or more years.
Characteristics of SEROCONVERSION PERIOD
- In this stage the HIV resides in the peripheral blood
- It starts generating cytotoxic lymphocytes and HIV antibodies
- The diseases that are common during this stage are very ordinary, and hence often people do not bother to go for a HIV test.
- If a test is conducted at an early stage of seroconversion, before the formation of the HIV antibodies, then the HIV diagnosis normally comes as negative. If it is conducted at the latter stage, then the test may be accurate.
- Diseases like diarrhea, fever, body aches, vomiting, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, sore throat, rashes are common at this stage.
- A number of CD4 cells and T-cells are destroyed.
Importance of identifying the stage of seroconversion:
- It gives more opportunity and scope for the treatment
- The spread of the disease to others (by means of sexual contact and shared needles)can be controlled
- Initial spread of the virus can be curbed, to keep the immune system better for a longer period.
HIV can be diagnosed with RAPID AIDS TESTING method technique or ORAL AIDS TESTING method. Devices like Unigold, Oraquick and Orasure can be useful. However, it has to be noted that, the test will not detect the disease, if the HIV antibodies have not been produced. This is the common case, when the test is conducted at the early stage of seroconversion. Therefore, one should undertake a HIV test from time to time, so that the accurate diagnosis come up once the antibodies are formed.
This stage, is however not as harmful as the other following stages. If a proper diagnosis is done and enough precautions are taken, then it may be treated to delay the arrival of the last stage of AIDS. A person who is prone to having HIV should be tested several times. These groups include the MSM, the heterosexuals, the ones with multiple sex partners, the IDU etc. The people who are closely associated with the high risks groups, like their wives, husbands and children, should also be encouraged to go for several HIV tests.