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Symptoms & Progression of HIV to AIDS

After an individual contracts HIV, they may experience an illness similar to the flu within 2-4 weeks. These flu-like symptoms may last a few days or a few weeks. Some individuals do not show symptoms at all initially. Even test results for HIV may not show up if the individual takes the test too early. Those infected with HIV are highly contagious and can spread the disease throughout these early stages.

It may take up to 10 years or longer for HIV symptoms to appear. This is known as the clinical latency stage. Although the individual may not feel the effects of their infection, they can still transmit HIV to others. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can help suppress the virus. Eventually, those with HIV who are not undergoing any sort of medical treatment such as ART may experience the weakening of their immune systems and develop AIDS, the last stage of an HIV infection.

The symptoms of AIDS include the following:

  • Significant weight loss
  • Fever
  • Pneumonia
  • Excessive night sweats
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Swelling of the lymph glands in armpit, groin, or neck
  • Diarrhea lasting more than a week
  • Sores on the anus, genitals, or mouth
  • Colored blotches on or under the skin inside mouth, nose or eyelids
  • Memory loss
  • Depression

Many of these symptoms can be related to other illnesses. Get tested for HIV to be certain.

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