Common HIV Symptoms

HIV is an infection of the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight off viruses, bacteria, and fungi that cause illness and it can lead to AIDS: a chronic, life threatening disease.

When first infected with HIV, you may have no symptoms. Some people develop a flu like illness, usually two to six weeks after being infected. Still, the only way you can truly know if you have HIV is to be tested.

Early Signs and Symptoms

Early HIV signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Rash
  • Fatigue

These early signs and symptoms usually disappear within a week to a month and are often mistaken for those of another viral infection. During this period, you’re highly infectious. More persistent or severe symptoms of HIV infection may not appear for 10 years or more after the initial infection.

As the virus continues to multiply and destroy immune cells, you may develop mild infections or chronic signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Swollen lymph nodes — often one of the first signs of HIV infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Cough and shortness of breath

Late Stage HIV Infection

Signs and symptoms of late stage HIV infection include:

  • Persistent, unexplained fatigue
  • Soaking night sweats
  • Shaking chills or fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C) for several weeks
  • Swelling of lymph nodes for more than three months
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Persistent headaches
  • Unusual, opportunistic infections
(Made possible by Mayo Clinic)

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