HIV and mono are both viruses that present with similar symptoms in the early stages. They are contracted in different ways and have very different long-term effects on the body. HIV is a chronic disease and has no cure, while mono usually runs its course and leaves the body over the course of several weeks.
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is carried and transmitted through blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal fluids. It can exist in the body for years before any symptoms are experienced; therefore, many who carry the virus are not aware they are infected. HIV is a chronic condition that weakens the immune system until and makes the body susceptible to other infections or illnesses if not properly treated. Those who do not have access to HIV-fighting anti-retroviral medications will eventually see their HIV worsen into full blown AIDS, which can be deadly without the proper treatment with anti-retroviral and other medications. There is no cure for HIV, but it can be maintained as a chronic, but manageable, condition when on the right combination of medications.
There can be no or only minor symptoms in the early stages of HIV. These symptoms include headache, sore throat, swollen glands, body rashes and fever. HIV symptoms at this stage are similar to mono and most other common viruses. As the HIV progresses and more seriously compromises the immune system, symptoms include weight loss, diarrhea, a chronic cough and the earlier symptoms in more severe forms. It is not until the virus progresses to AIDS that the most serious symptoms of night sweats, opportunistic infections and lesions are present.
Mono, or mononucleosis, is a manifestation of the Epstein-Barr virus. It is transmitted through saliva and can be contracted through kissing, ingesting the residue of an infected person’s cough or sneeze and sharing eating utensils and beverages with infected people. Mono is not considered to be a serious condition but does require a great deal of rest and low activity level for a period of weeks to fully recover. A blood sample is used to positively diagnose mono. There is no medication that can be taken to cure mono as it is a virus; however the illness will run its course over a period of four to eight weeks with an adequate amount of rest and liquids.
The symptoms of mono mirror early HIV symptoms. These symptoms include swollen glands, headache, body rashes and fever. Additionally, people with mono will feel fatigue, general weakness, loss of appetite and swelling of the spleen. The swelling of the spleen is a serious symptom, and those who incur this swelling need to avoid physical activity to avoid a spleen rupture.
HIV or Mono
HIV and mono symptoms are very similar when HIV is still in its early stages. When a person has symptoms of mono or any other similar virus, some worry that their symptoms may be indicative of HIV. If you are concerned that your symptoms may be HIV rather than mono or some other minor illness, go to your clinic for an HIV test. You are at almost no risk of contracting HIV if you have not had unprotected sex or shared needles with someone else. However, an HIV test is easy to complete to allay fears and make sure you quickly arrive at a proper diagnosis.