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Gynaecologic Problems: HIV/AIDS

Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms that could serve as warning signals of infection may go ignored because many women do not perceive themselves at risk for HIV infection. Symptoms include recurrent yeast infections ( vaginal candidiasis ), pelvic inflammatory disease , abnormal changes or dysplasia (growth and presence of precancerous cells) in cervical tissue , genital ulcers, genital warts, and severe mucosal herpes infections may also accompany HIV infection in women.

Within a few weeks of having been infected, many people have flu-like symptoms. However, in some cases, symptoms do not show for many years. As the infection progresses, some symptoms can include:

  • Swollen lymph glands in the neck, underarm, or groin area.
  • Recurrent fever including "night sweats".
  • Rapid weight loss for no apparent reason.
  • Constant tiredness.
  • Diarrhoea and decreased appetite.
  • White spots or unusual blemishes in the mouth.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A window period is a recommended waiting period to receive an accurate HIV test result. Generally, it is a six-week to six-month period from the moment of your last unsafe sex encounter to the moment that you receive an HIV screening. This is the time your body uses to create antibodies in the blood stream, which signify exposure to HIV. This process is known as seroconversion.

Currently, there is no known cure for HIV/AIDS.

HIV & Pregnancy

Most babies born to HIV-infected women escape the virus, but 1 in 4 do become infected before or during birth or through breastfeeding, although no one is certain when viral transmission occurs. Transmission may also be linked to the mother’s health during the pregnancy or birth--there are more viruses during the earliest stages of AIDS than later, for example. Currently, physicians may prescribe drug Retrovir (AZT) for infected pregnant women to reduce rates of transmission; effectiveness of this therapy increases the earlier HIV is diagnosed during the course of infection or before or after pregnancy.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. The National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC) FAQs:

Other HON resources 
   From MedHunt

HIV in womenHerpes in women
    From HONselect
     (def;articles & more)   

HIV: The

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome:

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Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome


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Contact Last modified: Jun 25 2002