HIV: Causes & Symptoms

Medically reviewed by Doctor Chen Tai Ho on Aug 1, 2019


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. It targets specifically a cell called CF4 cells or T cells. T cells are very important in fighting off virus that might cause disease. If left untreated, the HIV virus will cause immune system to deplete, leaving the body vulnerable to infections. Therefore, HIV patients would have to face a lot of obstacles in diseases.

To date, there is no cure for HIV. If by chance you are contracted with  HIV, do contact and consult with the doctor to curb the virus from spreading.

What is HIV


As we already know what is HIV, it’s easier to understand how the symptoms of HIV formed. Signs of HIV can include: 

Flu like symptoms

Flu-like symptoms

Most of people contracted with HIV virus experienced having flu-like symptoms during the early stages of the infection. This is our body’s natural reaction to resisting the virus. This symptom may last several weeks.

Rapid weight loss

Rapid weight loss

This is due to the loss of appetite caused by the HIV virus. The energy that our body extracted from the food is being used by the virus to over-activate our immune system. Therefore, our body feel weak and not interested in consuming more food.

Tiredness profuse night sweats

Tiredness, profuse night sweats

In the first few weeks of contracting HIV, our body will try to work out a defense system against the virus. Hence, it caused our body to overwork – making us feel tired and even sweat at night.

Swelling of the lymph

Swelling of the lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are the organ that helps to produce antibodies. It can be located in the neck, armpits or groin area. When the viruses has reached the lymph nodes, it will weaken the bodily defense system there. It will allow other bacteria and viruses to enter the body and disturb the lymphatic system, causing it to swell.

Sores on the mouth

Sores on the mouth, anus or genitals

Most patients with HIV positive have sores on their mouth, anus or genitals. These are the results of weakened antibody, making it easier for diseases like candidiasis (oral fungal), herpes or other auto-immune diseases.



Pneumonia is a serious, life threatening lung disease that symptoms include dry cough, chest tightness and difficulty in breathing. Those HIV patients will have a prolonged pneumonia, lasting several weeks, even months.


Acute HIV infection

Acute HIV infection

Also known as the first stage of HIV infection, this stage lasts for a couple of weeks (2 – 4 weeks). Usually, the patient experiences prolonged flu-like syndrome until the stage is over. The patient would also experience lymph nodes swelling, restless tiredness and hard to breath.

The symptoms are our body’s natural resistance against the virus. In this stage the virus works to reduce the number of CD4 cells in our body by replicating and destroying them. Those who detected HIV in this early stages are recommended to seek professional help as soon as possible. This is due to the fact that the virus is highly transmittable during this stage.

Clinical latency

Clinical latency

In this second stage of HIV development, the virus will reproduce within the body without producing any symptoms. The reproduction is so low that even standard laboratory test couldn’t detect it. For those who take antiretroviral therapy (ART) medicine, the virus can stay in this stage for decades and not develop into AIDS.

acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)

Often thought of as the last phase of life after HIV, the patients would experience extreme pain. These would come from the symptoms of the diseases that attacked the body after the depleted immunisation. AIDS can be defined as the series of symptoms that happens during the last stage of HIV/AIDS.

If treated well, HIV can not develop into AIDS. So, if you are detected with HIV, please get immediate help as soon as possible.


HIV/AIDS spread through the exchange of certain bodily fluids. These include blood, semen,  pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.

The methods of spreading include having unprotected sex with a person with HIV, sharing needles, rinse water or other equipments that is used with contact of blood.

Traditionally, a breastfeeding mother who is HIV positive will also transmit the disease to her child through milk.

In some cases, receiving blood transfusions, blood products, or organ/tissue transplants from those who are contaminated will also lead to HIV transmission. However, the chances are very small as the medical industry has put up a strict funneling scheme for donated organs/blood.

Besides that, contact between broken skin, wounds, or mucous membranes with HIV-infected blood can also result in HIV transmission.



Always have protected sex: As sex is the main method of infection, please avoid having unprotected sex. Condom is powerful tool of prevention. Use it.

How to Prevent HIV

Avoid sharing of needles or syringes: Sharing needles or syringes can expose you with unsolicited HIV infection.

Avoid open wound contact with HIV+ people: Please avoid unnecessary contact with a random person when you have an open wound. Any exchange of blood can possibly put you in danger of contracting HIV.

How to Prevent AIDS

PREP: Pre-exposure prophylaxis also known as PrEP is antiretroviral therapy (ART) used by those who are in constant danger of contracting HIV but not yet have HIV. When a person is in danger of exposure to HIV, the medicine helps to curb it from infecting. Researches have shown that taking PrEP on a regular basis can help lowering down the risk of getting HIV by 92%. To further reduce down the number, PrEP can be used alongside condom.

PEP: Post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP is used by those who encountered recent HIV exposure. When used within 72 hours of possible contraction with HIV, PEP can help reduce the risk of getting infected. However, it is not 100%. You must consume PEP within the 28 days after the first encounter.



To ensure our safety, we can use all the preventive methods against HIV. However, there’s no sure way that we are not infected unless with a special HIV test. The test can be administered through registered clinic.

In Premier Clinic, we use a special kit for HIV testing. The kit is 99.9% accurate for detecting Phase 1 & Phase 2 HIV. Regardless of the result, our expert doctors will advise you on the preventive measures and how to handle the illnesses (if tested positive).

We also have antiretroviral medicines available for you to curb the illnesses. PrEP and PEP are also available in our clinic.

There are also HIV test kits available for home administration. However, the accuracy varies, depending on brands. Best way is to meet up with credentials doctors for accurate result.

If you have any concerns or questions about HIV/AIDS, please contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Whatsapp/Call: +6012-662-5552


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