Symptoms and Risks

What are the symptoms of acute HIV infection?

Acute HIV infection may or may not be accompanied by symptoms. Approximately half of people infected with HIV develop symptoms soon after infection. Typically, symptoms occur 5 to 30 days after the initial infection and can last several weeks. Symptoms usually last about two weeks, but can last for shorter or longer periods. Symptoms include:

  • Fever (usually 101°F or higher)
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sore throat
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Night sweats
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash

Fever is the most common symptom. Because these symptoms are common in other viral illnesses, the diagnosis of acute HIV is often not suspected and the patient is sent home unaware that they have been recently infected with HIV. Having these symptoms does not mean that you have HIV. The same symptoms can occur with the flu, mononucleosis (mono), strep throat and other viral illnesses. However if you think you may have been exposed to HIV/AIDS and are experiencing some of these symptoms - GET TESTED.

How do I know if I am at risk for acute HIV infection?

If you have had oral, vaginal or anal sex without a condom with a known HIV positive person or a partner whose HIV status you do not know - GET TESTED. (Remember, if you have not seen your partner's HIV test result or they have had unprotected sex with someone since their last HIV test, you do not know their HIV status).