Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Nancy Carteron, MD, FACR
STD Symptoms – HIV
Most people infected with HIV do not know that they have become infected and have no signs and symptoms at all.
About half of people who become infected with HIV experience flu-like symptoms within a few weeks after infection. Then there are usually no HIV symptoms for many years. That is why it can be hard to know if you have HIV.
If an initial immune reaction to HIV occurs, it usually takes place between 1 and 6 weeks after HIV infection has happened.
A person with HIV may look healthy and feel good, but they can still pass the virus, especially during the initial infection period.
The only way to determine whether HIV is present in a person’s body is by testing.
Common early symptoms of HIV infection are sometimes called sero-conversion illness. These symptoms may last for only a few weeks and may include:
- Aching muscles or joints
- Enlarged lymph nodes.
- Joint pains
- Mouth or throat ulcers
- Skin rash
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands in the throat, armpit, or groin
Some common chronic symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetitie
- Constant diarrhea
- Recurring yeast infections
- Weight loss
HIV Symptoms are Often Non-Specific
Some people are first diagnosed with HIV when they become ill due to their immune system becoming weakened. Because HIV symptoms are often non-specific, HIV infection may not be suspected unless:
- Symptoms fail to go away with time
- Other possible causes have been disqualified
- A person is at higher risk of HIV infection because of past sexual behavior or injection drug use (often going back many years)
- A person is diagnosed with an ‘opportunistic’ illness, which is an illness that points to a weakened immune system
People can have HIV for 10 years or more and never show any symptoms and for the reasons mentioned above, symptoms alone cannot identify an HIV infection.
Testing is the only way to confirm if a person has HIV.
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Did this help you identify your STD Symptoms? Do you still have questions about your STD symptoms or would you like to share how your symptoms were similar/different? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!