Everything You Need to Know About HIV/AIDS

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What are the symptoms of HIV?

Some people infected with HIV are asymptomatic at first. Most people experience symptoms in the first month or two after becoming infected. That’s because your immune system is reacting to the virus as it rapidly reproduces.

This early stage is called acute stage. Symptoms are similar to those of the flu and may last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. These include:

  • fever
  • swollen lymph glands
  • general aches and pains

During the first few months of infection, an HIV test may provide a false-negative result. This is because it takes time for the immune system to build up enough antibodies to be detected in a blood test. But the virus is active and highly contagious during this time.

The clinical latent infection, or chronic stage of HIV, can last from a few years to a few decades. During this time the virus is still reproducing, but at lower levels. Some people have few, if any, symptoms. Others may have many symptoms. Without antiretroviral therapy, you’re likely to pass through this phase faster.

As the disease progresses, other symptoms may include:

  • swollen lymph nodes
  • recurrent fevers
  • fatigue
  • aches and pains
  • nausea, vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • weight loss
  • skin rashes
  • oral yeast infections or other infections
  • shingles

Symptoms may come and go or progress rapidly. Even if you have no symptoms, you can still transmit the virus to others.

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