Excessive gas is a sign of HIV

AIDS in adolescents

The time it takes for an HIV-infected adolescent to develop AIDS cannot be predicted. Some can contract a life-threatening infection shortly after being infected with the HI virus, but most remain symptom-free for about 10 years. Ten years after the infection, 50%, 14 years later, 69% are diagnosed with AIDS. Around 8% of those infected with HIV still have no symptoms of the disease even after 15 years.

Possible signs of an incipient immune deficiency can be fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, skin rashes and mostly painless lymph nodes on the neck and / or groin area.

In the case of pronounced immune disorders, an opportunistic infection (= infections that use the "favorable opportunity" of the weakened immune system) with severe symptoms and - very rarely - tumors of the lymphatic system can occur.

HIV infections develop very differently, and each individual course usually shows strong fluctuations. Symptoms may or may not occur. And between the individual phases of the illness there are often long periods without physical symptoms. Even a fully developed immune deficiency can initially proceed without any symptoms until the occurrence of the most severe infections / illnesses.

1. Stage I: acute HIV infection

In about 70-90%, flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, swelling of the tonsils and lymph nodes and skin rash occur two to three weeks after being infected. The symptoms usually last a few days or weeks and then go away completely.

Even if there are no symptoms, someone who is already infected can transmit the HIV virus to others. At this point the HIV test is still negative. Antibodies can only be detected in the blood one to three months after infection.

2. Stage II: symptom-free stage

The immune system manages to achieve a kind of balance between virus replication and virus defense. This balance remains stable for about eight to ten years without antiretroviral therapy. Nevertheless, the virus continues to multiply during this time and destroy the immune cells. During this time, most young people with HIV hardly notice the infection.

3. Stage III: symptomatic stage

During this phase of HIV infection, various infections occur because the immune system is already significantly weakened. But they are not (yet) life-threatening. Other symptoms are night sweats, attacks of fever, skin changes (dermatitis), persistent diarrhea and fungal infections (mainly caused by candida). Around 40% of those infected suffer from swelling of the lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy) during this time, which is why this stage is also known as lymph node syndrome.

4. Stage IV: AIDS full screen

This stage develops about 10 years after infection and is divided into different sub-stages. If a patient has one of the following symptoms, the doctor speaks of the so-called AIDS-related complex:

If there are other serious infections with certain pathogens such as pneumonia, neurological diseases or certain types of cancer, one speaks of the full AIDS picture. These diseases are a sign that the immune system has already been severely damaged by the HIV virus:

  • more than one severe, culturally proven infection with common bacteria in a period of two years.
  • Brain dysfunction (encephalopathy).
  • extreme emaciation and emaciation (cachexia).
  • Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia: This is the most common opportunistic infection in AIDS. In most cases, AIDS patients get pneumonia from this pathogen, but in others, pneumonia can also be the first sign of AIDS. Symptoms are cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
  • Toxoplasmosis: Toxoplasmosis is the most common cause of brain damage in people with HIV. The pathogen is transmitted by cats and rarely causes symptoms in healthy people. In patients with AIDS, however, it comes to brain inflammation (enzepahilits).
  • Various lymphomas including CNS lymphomas: This cancer arises from lymphocytes, a special subgroup of white blood cells. Most often the disease begins in the lymph nodes and spreads to other organs.
  • Kaposi's sarcoma: Kaposi's sarcoma is a tumor of the vascular wall. It is the most common form of cancer in people infected with HIV. Reddish spots on the skin or in the mouth are typical. Kaposi's sarcomas can also affect internal organs such as the stomach, intestines or lungs.
  • Herpes simplex virus infection (HSV): Herpes infections affect the skin of the face or genital area, depending on the type of virus. They usually heal over time, but they can always come back. In HIV-positive adolescents, the skin is more severe and heals more slowly. It can also lead to infections that affect all organs.
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV): If the immune system is healthy, the virus does not cause symptoms of illness. When the immune system is generally weakened, the virus attacks and damages various organs. An infection of the brain by the CMV and the infestation of the retina are particularly feared, as it leads to blindness without treatment.
  • Candida infection of the esophagus: This fungal infection is common in HIV positive people. Noticeable is a thick white coating on the mucous membrane in the oral cavity, on the tongue and the esophagus. This leads to difficulty swallowing and a burning sensation behind the breastbone.
  • Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis (TB) is the most common disease associated with HIV infection worldwide. TB can also be passed on to people who are not HIV-infected by coughing or sneezing.
  • Atypical mycobacetrioses: Usually these pathogens only affect the respiratory tract. If the infection is advanced and the number of T helper cells (CD4 lymphocytes) is reduced, the bacteria can attack all organs including the bone marrow. This leads to symptoms such as fever, weight loss, stomach pain, and diarrhea.