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HIV & AIDS Health Center

HIV & AIDS Overview

Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV/AIDS weakens a person's ability to fight infections. It is contracted through unprotected sex or needle sharing. An HIV test confirms diagnosis. Medications may suppress the virus and delay the onset of AIDS.

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Understanding AIDS/HIV -- Symptoms

The Symptoms of HIV/AIDS - the First Stage

HIV infection comes in three stages. The first stage is called acute infection or seroconversion, and it typically happens within two to six weeks after exposure or becoming infected. This is when the body's immune system puts up a fight against HIV. The symptoms of acute infection look similar to those of other viral illnesses and are often compared to those of the flu. The symptoms may last a week or two and then completely go away as the virus goes into a non-symptomatic stage.

The initial symptoms of acute HIV infection may include:

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