Infections

The presence of HIV in the body makes it tough for your immune system to combat germs and infections. Therefore it is easier for opportunistic infections (OIs) to take advantage of your delicate health at this time.

Such OIs include tuberculosis, pneumonia, and oral or vulva candidiasis. Bacterial infections and yeast infections are more prone in HIV-positive women. And they are more difficult to treat.

Most HIV-positive women get these often or several times a year. A yeast infection manifests with the following symptoms:

Pain when you urinate

Pain during intercourse

Thick white discharge from your vulva

Vulva burning/soreness

HIV patients are prone to infections of the eyes, skin, lungs, digestive tract, kidneys, and brain. A common ailment such as the flu is even difficult to treat being HIV positive.

However, using the antiretroviral drugs and ensuring your viral load is low would lower a person’s risk of getting OIs. Other precautions, such as frequent hand-washing could also prevent some of these common illnesses from latching onto you.

Menstrual changes

Women with HIV tend to experience changes to their periodic cycle. It’s either their periods are lighter or heavier than usual. Or they might not get their period flow at all. Some might even have severe premenstrual symptoms.

According to Dr Kaplan, “Stress or other STDs, which are common with HIV can cause these issues. But they may also happen because of the virus’s effects on your immune system, which may change your hormones.”

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes.

PID in HIV-positive women is much difficult to treat. Plus the symptoms persist longer than usual or may even return more often.

PID could also cause:

Irregular periods

Unusual vulva discharge

Pain during intercourse

Fever

Pain in your upper belly

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