What are the expected HIV symptoms?

November 12, 2012

What are the expected HIV symptoms?

The HIV infection affects millions of people worldwide, across all races and both genders. The HIV infection causes damage to the immune system of the body – however this damage is not usually noticed immediately, indeed it may well take years to develop. For this reason it is essential, particularly if you are in a known at-risk group, to be aware of the possible HIV symptoms. HIV is transmitted through infected bodily fluids – this may happen during unprotected sex, when sharing dirty needles or other drug paraphernalia, and, more rarely nowadays, through infected blood or blood products.


A high fever is an extremely common HIV symptom which frequently occurs soon after the initial infection, usually within the first two or three weeks. The fever may only be very mild – many people don’t take any notice of it, assuming they have contracted the flu or a cold. Or, the fever may reach 101F.


Regular, persistent headaches of varying severity may well be an HIV symptom – and often occur when a fever is present. The use of over the counter remedies is often successful in treating headaches, but, if they are giving cause for concern then medical advice should be sought.

Fatigue and exhaustion

Low energy levels and lack of stamina may also be HIV symptoms. Extreme fatigue is often noted by those infected with HIV – and may even affect their quality of life or ability to work.

Swollen glands

The presence of swollen glands may be regarded almost at the classic HIV symptom as it is so often observed in HIV patients. The affected glands, in the neck, armpits and groin, will generally be swollen and painful and may also produce an overall feeling of being unwell – this is due to the build up of infection causing the inflammation. These swellings of the lymph nodes may well persist and be difficult to treat.


A rash which occurs soon after exposure to the HIV virus is a typical, oft seen, HIV symptom that is not always recognised as such. It frequently occurs alongside mild flu like symptoms and typically disappears within a few weeks.

Other HIV symptoms

  • Unexplained weight loss and/or loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sore throat
  • Skin disorders such as warts or herpes which persist over long periods
  • Chronic aches and pains in the muscles and joints.
  • Repeated yeast infections – in the mouth and/or genital area
  • Enlarged spleen or liver

Complications of HIV

As the HIV infection progresses the patient may well experience other medical conditions that are the result of an impaired immune system – these included

  • Unusual cancers – for example, Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Pneumonia
  • Meningitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Herpes simplex

Anyone who suspects they have been exposed to the HIV virus should seek immediate medical advice. Many of the symptoms of this disease can be successfully treated and patients can, with the right medical treatment, expect to live a normal life. If you notice any of the symptoms it is essential not to delay treatment – any delay could mean the usual treatment programs will not be successful.

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