HIV has historically infected more men than women, but women are accounting for more new HIV cases and may soon catch up and even surpass men in number. AIDS trails only cancer and heart disease as a killer of women. African-American women are the hardest hit, and younger women are more likely to contract the virus than are their older counterparts. Years may pass before some of these symptoms prompt investigation.
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Women with HIV often have recurrent vaginal infections, including yeast infections. Pelvic inflammatory disease and abnormal pap smears are also common. Other infections could include genital warts or ulcers.
Swollen lymph glands often appear in the neck, armpits and groin area. The glands swell because they are trying to fight the infection by getting rid of the foreign matter that has invaded the body. Frequent fevers and night sweats begin to occur, accompanied by constant fatigue.
Women who become infected with HIV will begin to have abnormal menstrual cycles. This can start off as missed periods and progress to having no periods at all. If a woman has had normal periods in the past, with no problems, this could indicate a possible infection.
Flulike symptoms can appear within a couple of weeks of being infected. They include fatigue, body aches, sore throat and fever. Many women think nothing of it, but the symptoms occur because the infection has invaded the cells and the body is trying to fight it off.
Women infected with HIV may begin to lose weight rapidly with no explanation and without dieting. Two contributors are diarrhoea and a lack of appetite, both of which are common symptoms.
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