Acute retroviral syndrome is an illness with symptoms like
mononucleosis. It often develops within a few days of
infection, but it may occur several weeks after the person is infected.
Symptoms may include:
About 40 million people are living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) or AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Each day, 14,000 more become infected. HIVdrugs have vastly improved the quality of life for many of these people, but they don't yet provide a cure. That's why researchers are working so hard to develop an HIV vaccine.
These first symptoms can range from mild to severe and
usually disappear on their own after 2 to 3 weeks. But many people do not have symptoms or they have mild symptoms that they do not notice at this stage.
It may take years for HIV symptoms
to develop. But even though no symptoms are present, the virus is multiplying
(or making copies of itself) in the body during this time. HIV multiplies so
quickly that the
immune system cannot destroy the virus. After years of
fighting HIV, the immune system starts to weaken.
A doctor may
suspect HIV if symptoms persist or if a cause of the symptoms (such as the flu)
cannot be identified. HIV may also be suspected when several of the following
symptoms are present:
during the last
stage of infection with HIV. If HIV goes untreated,
AIDS develops in most people within 10 to 12 years after the initial infection.
With treatment for HIV, the progression to AIDS may be delayed or
A small number of people who are infected with HIV are
rapid progressors. They develop AIDS within a few years if they do not receive
treatment. It is not known why the infection progresses faster in these