Stages & Symptoms Of HIV
Acute Primary HIV Infection
This is the stage just after someone has contracted HIV.
Lasts 2 - 4 weeks
No symptoms (asymptomatic)
Flu-like symptoms which might include:
- Fever (raised temperature)
- Body rash
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands
- Upset stomach
- Joint aches and pains
- Muscle pain.
Levels of HIV are very high during this time and the risk of passing the virus on through unprotected sex is increased.
Asymptomatic HIV Infection
During this stage there are no symptoms but HIV is active and multiplying and doing damage to the immune system.
Lasts up to 10 years
Some people may experience swollen lymph nodes or glands.
Symptomatic HIV Infection
By now HIV has damaged the immune system so much that it can no longer fight off infections and diseases that a healthy immune system can easily keep at bay. The body becomes vulnerable to opportunistic infections.
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Night sweats
- Recurrent respiratory infections
- Persistent cough
- Mouth and skin problems
- Serious illnesses or diseases.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Advanced HIV with AIDS-defining symptoms.
A person with AIDS can live around 3 years without HIV treatment
- HIV wasting syndrome
- HIV-related cancers (Kaposi sarcoma)
- Serious infections and illnesses such as extra-pulmonary tuberculosis (TB outside the lungs)
- Low CD4 count
- HIV encephalopathy (damage to the brain from HIV)
- Different forms of pneumonia
At this stage it is still possible to start treatment and recover from AIDS.