Symptoms of HIV

HIV Symptoms

Many patients are asymptomatic (experience no symptoms) when they first become infected with HIV.  After one or two months, an estimated 80-90% of HIV patients develop flu-like symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • headache
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • enlarged lymph nodes

These symptoms of HIV usually disappear after one week to one month and are often mistaken for another viral infection, such as the flu.

Despite having minimal or no symptoms of HIV during this stage, individuals are still infectious because the virus is usually present in large quantities in bodily fluids.

Symptoms of AIDS

Antiretroviral treatment can has been shown to slow the progression of HIV to AIDS, as well as helping to prevent transmission of the virus by reducing the amount of virus in the blood to undetectable levels.  However, once the patient’s CD4 T-cell count is less than 200 cells per microliter of blood, their condition has progressed to AIDS, the final stage of the disease.
Some patients are diagnosed with AIDS after they develop an AIDS-defining illness, such as Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (formerly called Pneumocystis carinii or PCP), tuberculosis, or wasting syndrome, to name a few.

Symptoms include:

  • Weight loss
  • Recurring respiratory tract infections
  • Oral ulcerations

Patients with AIDS have the greatest risk of developing opportunistic infections and tumors.

Selected References
AIDS.org. www.aids.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). www.amfar.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). www.cdc.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. www.pedaids.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Halperin DT, Steiner MJ, Cassell MM, et al. The time has come for common ground on preventing sexual transmission of HIV. Lancet. 2004 Nov 27-Dec 3;364(9449):1913-5.
Loutfy MR, Antoniou T, Shen S, et al. Virologic and immunologic impact and durability of enfuvirtide-based antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected treatment-experienced patients in a clinical setting. HIV Clin Trials. 2007 Jan-Feb;8(1):36-44.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD). www.niaid.nih.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. www.naturalstandard.com. Copyright © 2009. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Rigopoulos D, Gregoriou S, Paparizos V, et al. AIDS in pregnancy, part II: Treatment in the era of highly activeantiretroviral therapy and management of obstetric, anesthetic, and pediatric issues. Skinmed. 2007 Mar-Apr;6(2):79-84.
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource. www.thebody.com. Accessed March 29, 2009.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). www.fda.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Vrouenraets SM, Wit FW, van Tongeren J, et al. Efavirenz: a review. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2007 Apr;8(6):851-71.