HIV and AIDS
Most people who are infected with HIV experiencea short, flu-like illness that occurs two to six weeks after infection. After this, HIV often causes no symptoms for several years.
The flu-like illness that often occurs a few weeks after HIV infection is also known as seroconversion illness. It's estimated that up to 80% of people who are infected with HIV experience this illness.
The most common symptoms are:
Other symptoms can include:
The symptoms usually last one to two weeks but can be longer. Theyare a sign that your immune system is putting up a fight against the virus.
However, these symptomsare most commonly caused by conditions other than HIV, and do not mean you have the virus.
If you have several of these symptoms, and you think you have been at risk ofHIV infection within the past few weeks, you shouldget an HIVtest.
After the initial symptoms disappear, HIV will often not cause any further symptoms for many years. During this time, known asasymptomatic HIV infection, the virus continues to be active and causes progressive damage to your immune system. This process can take about 10 years, during which you will feel and appear well.
Once the immune system becomes severely damaged symptomscan include:
Earlier diagnosis and treatment of HIV can prevent these problems.
Want to know more?
Read about HIV, a virus most commonly caught by having unprotected sex or by sharing infected needles and other injecting equipment to inject drugs.
Symptoms of early HIV infection, also called primary HIV infection or seroconversion, and AIDS (late-stage HIV infection).
Read about the causes of HIV, how it spreads, who's most at risk and its origins in Africa
Read about HIV testing, including when you should get tested, where you can get tested, and what the different tests involve.
Treatments for HIV, including post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), antiretrovirals (ARVs), HIV and pregnancy, sperm washing, side effects and getting support.
Information for people living with HIV, including medication advice, how to stay healthy and reduce your risk of illness and where to find help and support.
Find out how to prevent passing on HIV to others by taking precautions, such as using a condom, when having penetrative vaginal or anal sex.
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