A Timeline of HIV Symptoms


People who have the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection may exhibit a wide variety of symptoms. Some may not even be aware that they have the virus until a significant amount of time has passed after their first exposure. Because AIDS is a progressive illness, the symptoms often get more severe throughout the disease. Initial signs and symptoms may be easily dismissed as the flu. On the other hand, when the condition progresses and the patient's ability to fight infection decreases, other more severe symptoms may start to appear.

It is crucial to identify the signs of HIV infection at any stage. It would help if you did this so that you may be tested for HIV and start taking medicine that might extend your life. Even if you don't have any symptoms, getting tested and treated early can provide you with much better health and near-normal life expectancy. Further, if you get tested and are treated at early stages, you will have almost a normal lifespan.

You should be aware of the following HIV symptoms and the usual stage of infection in which they arise.

Between 1 to 2 weeks After the Contact

Given that the digestive system has not been able to effectively control the virus thus far, the first phase of a retroviral infection is referred to as the acute stage, also known as an acute retroviral syndrome (ARS). During this period, it is anticipated that between 40 and 90 percent of the population will exhibit symptoms similar to those caused by the flu, while the remaining 10 percent will show no signs. These symptoms typically occur between 7 and 14 days after exposure. However, they might appear as early as three days after the event. Roughly one-third of people who have ARS may develop a maculopapular rash that looks like pink to red pimples.

This rash appears more often in the above part of the human body. In some people, the small rash may develop into comparatively larger, more raised hives with time. In addition, symptoms characteristic of ARS includes fever, weakness, headache, sore throat, muscular pain, joint pain, enlarged night sweats, lymph nodes, diarrhea, and nausea. Those who have ARS may also have night sweats. As Much as 14 Days Following Initial Exposure

By days 14 to 28, the Virus Should have Slowed its Replication rate.

The majority of patients begin to improve within 14 days as the digestive system progressively gains control of the illness; however, some individuals could continue to have ARS symptoms for up to three months. A disorder known as lymphadenopathy stands out as a significant exception to this rule. Symptoms of lymphadenopathy include enlargement of lymph nodes, which may often be seen in the neck, armpits, and groin. After the remaining symptoms had disappeared, lymphadenopathy may continue to be present for many months to even several years. The essential thing to keep in mind is that the disappearance of symptoms does not indicate that the virus is gone. The essential thing to keep in mind is that the disappearance of symptoms does not indicate that the virus is gone. HIV is a disease that can never be treated, unlike hepatitis, which sometimes goes away on its own. HIV is constantly present, and anyone infected with it should get treatment as soon as possible.

Exposed for 4 weeks to 20 Years

The illness enters the chronic stage when the digestive system has the virus controlling it. During this time, HIV enters a dormant condition called latency, which it uses to evade detection by hiding in different blood cells everywhere throughout the body. HIV latency may last for ten years or more without showing symptoms, while some persons may start showing symptoms as early as a year or two after infection.

Lymphadenopathy may be the sole noticeable symptom of an HIV infection during the early chronic phase. The size of the swollen glands may sometimes be easily seen, sometimes reaching an inch or more. Persistent generalized lymphadenopathy describes the disease if it lasts more than three months (PGL). Viruses may continue to multiply undetected and deplete CD4 T-cells, an important kind of immune cell, even during the latent phase of the infection.

The appearance of oral diseases (thrush), a type of fungus that causes the formation of milky, white blisters mostly on tongue's margins and the walls of the mouth, is generally indicative of a dysfunctional immune system; other symptoms include persistent, mysterious fevers and excessive sweating that soak through bed linen and nightwear. Extreme, uncontrollable diarrhea lasting longer than three days. People with immunological deficiencies often exhibit each of these signs. HIV or another illness that has not yet been identified may be to blame in certain situations.

Viral Latency and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

HIV will nearly always cause symptoms if not treated. When this could happen is anyone's guess since there is no set schedule or pattern to follow. An individual's vulnerability to specific diseases increases in tandem with their CD4 count, which measures the strength of their immune system. These diseases are called "opportunistic" because they only cause damage when a person's immune system is compromised. Untreated CD4 T-cell depletion may progress to the latter stage of illness known as AIDS. The most severe opportunistic infections often manifest at this time. A CD4 count below 200 or one of 27 AIDS-defining illnesses is required for a diagnosis of AIDS by CDC. Cancers, including invasive cervical cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, are also common in people with advanced HIV/AIDS, along with bacterial, fungal, and parasite infections. Many parts of the body, including −

  • Respiratory system (tuberculosis, bacterial pneumonia, pneumocystis pneumonia)

  • Diseases of the skin (including shingles and Kaposi sarcoma) (shingles, Kaposi sarcoma)

  • The Gastrointestinal System (mycobacterium avium complex, cryptosporidiosis)

  • Brain (AIDS dementia, cryptococcal meningitis)

  • Optic (herpes zoster ophthalmicus, CMV retinitis) (cytomegalovirus retinitis, herpes zoster ophthalmicus)

  • Dna (salmonella septicemia)

Updated on: 17-Feb-2023

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