Home About Project STYLE Services HIV, Alcohol and Drug Use Resources Testimonials Donations Contact Information

HIV Signs and Symptoms

When first infected with HIV, you may have no signs or symptoms at all, although you're still able to transmit the virus to others. Many people develop a brief flu-like illness two to four weeks after becoming infected. Signs and symptoms may include:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Rash
Afterwards, you may remain symptom-free for years. But as the virus continues to multiply and destroy immune cells, you may develop mild infections or chronic symptoms such as:
  • Swollen lymph nodes often one of the first signs of HIV infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Cough and shortness of breath
Without treatment, the disease typically progresses to AIDS in about 10 years. By the time AIDS develops, your immune system has been severely damaged, making you susceptible to opportunistic infections diseases that wouldn't trouble a person with a healthy immune system. The signs and symptoms of some of these infections may include:
  • Soaking night sweats
  • Shaking chills or fever higher than 100 F (38 C) for several weeks
  • Cough and shortness of breath
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Persistent white spots or unusual lesions on your tongue or in your mouth
  • Headaches
  • Persistent, unexplained fatigue
  • Blurred and distorted vision
  • Weight loss
  • Skin rashes or bumps
There is no cure for HIV. However, HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy), a combination of three or more antiretroviral medications, can slow progression of the disease. Although HIV is no longer a death sentence, as it was at the beginning of the epidemic, medications are extremely expensive and can have significant side effects.