Also known as the immunodeficiency virus, HIV is a sexually transmitted infection that attacks the body's immune system and weakens its ability to fight infection and disease. When someone who has tested positive for HIV doesn’t receive treatment, it’s common to progress through three stages of the disease, these include:
- Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection
- Stage 2: Chronic HIV Infection
- Stage 3: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
What are the three stages of HIV?
While HIV treatment can help in controlling the virus, if treatment isn’t received, HIV can begin to progress into different stages: acute HIV infection, chronic HIV infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection
In the first stage of HIV, people tend to have a large amount of HIV in their blood - this makes the virus extremely contagious . While some people may experience symptoms such as fever, chills or night sweats, others may experience no symptoms whatsoever.
Stage 2: Chronic HIV Infection
In stage 2 of HIV, the virus is still present and growing, but at a slower rate than in stage 1. It’s common for people to experience no symptoms in this stage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stage 2 can last almost 10 years without receiving the appropriate HIV treatment, although for some, it may progress quicker .
Stage 3: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
This stage is widely known to be the most serious of the three. The immune system of those with AIDs becomes completely weakened, and they become at risk of experiencing a number of illnesses referred to as opportunistic infections - although these aren’t as common now with the advancement in medical treatments surrounding HIV and AIDs .
See also: HIV and Aids: Myths and Facts
If you are experiencing symptoms of early stage HIV and believe you may have been exposed to the virus, it’s important to find out more. This can be done by taking a test with your doctor or from home with an at-home lab test.
LetsGetChecked’s at-home HIV Test involves a simple finger prick sample with online results available within 2-5 days. Our dedicated medical team will be available throughout the process to offer a helping hand should you need it.