Stages Of HIV
AIDS can be classified into four broad stages. All these stages, determine the degree to which the T-cells and the central nervous system have been hampered. The T-cells play the biggest role in combating any disease. The more the T-cells get degenerated, the weaker our immune system becomes.This process of paralysis of the immunity system is a very gradual and slow process, taking about seven to ten years to reach the final stage.
Stages of HIV:
- First Stage-
This stage is called the primary stage or the period of seroconversion, as the HIV residing in the peripheral blood, starts generating cytotoxic lymphocytes and HIV antibodies. If a HIV test is conducted before the start of the seroconversion period, then the person may be diagnosed as negative due to the absence of HIV antibodies. Instead, the ailment is often misdiagnosed as flu or other viral fever. Unfortunately, this holds true for 20% of the patients. The doctors fail to diagnose them properly, because the HIV test is conducted before the antibodies get generated in the seroconversion period.
The first stage is marked with slight flu-like symptoms, like fever, diarrhea, body ache, sore throat etc. Lasting for just a few weeks, this stage of HIV often goes completely unnoticed.
- Second Stage-
This stage, known as the asymptomatic stage is the second of all the stages of HIV. As inferred by the name, this stage is lacks any apparent symptom, and is literally the chronic stage of HIV. However, technically, a very active process goes on in the lymph nodes. The viral load test is conducted at this stage of HIV, to find the amount of the virus that has escaped in from the lymph nodes.
Nevertheless, a few seemingly unimportant, ordinary and curable disorders and illness may occur in some cases:
- Slight weight loss
- Infections in the respiratory track
- Fungal infections in the nails
- Frequent oral ulcer
However, the paradox is, most of the patients do not go for any test because they simply cannot perceive any symptoms of the disease, as this stage is apparently harmless.
- Third Stage-
The second stage, in its own dormant way, badly damages the immune system, to transit into the third stage. The minor diseases, which a healthy immune system can easily fight, become irresistible in the third stage of HIV. Therefore, the body suffers from several infections in different parts of the body at the same time. At this stage of HIV,
- The Lymph nodes completely degenerate.
- The virus becomes stronger and intensifies its rate of T-cells destruction.
- The body loses its ability to regenerate the lost T-cells, at a fast pace.
This stage witnesses disease like meningitis, swelled glands and general malaise.
- Fourth Stage -
The fourth stage is marked by more frequent occurrences of minor infections, subsequently leading to the deadliest phase of the stages of HIV, called AIDS. At this stage, the CD4 count drops down to less than 200, and the person loses the capability to fight any opportunistic disease. This stage is often too late for any further treatment. The generation of HIV antibodies becomes too fast for the body to combat it. The patient suffers from diseases like Kaposi Sacroma and Pneumocystis Pneumonia.
The final of the stages of HIV is incurable and deadly. Therefore, it is always better to diagnose the possibility of HIV within the first three stages. Proper medication and therapy, can somehow delay the arrival of the stage of AIDS.