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Symptoms

Early Symptoms

In the first stages of HIV infection, most people will have very few, if any, symptoms. Within a month or two after infection, they may experience a flu-like illness, including:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and groin area

These symptoms usually disappear within a week to a month and are often mistaken for another viral infection, such as flu. However, during this period people are highly infectious because HIV is present in large quantities in genital fluids and blood. Some people infected with HIV may have more severe symptoms at first or symptoms that last a long time, while others may have no symptoms for 12 years or more.

Later Symptoms

During the late stages of HIV infection, the virus severely weakens the immune system, and people infected with the virus may have the following symptoms:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Recurring fever or profuse night sweats
  • Extreme and unexplained tiredness
  • Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
  • Sores of the mouth, anus, or genitals
  • Pneumonia
  • Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
  • Memory loss, depression, and other neurologic disorders.

Each of these symptoms can be related to other illnesses. The only way to find out if you are infected with HIV is to get tested.



Information published courtesy of NIAID


This article was last modified in: 06/18/2012