Skip to content

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection - Symptoms

HIV may not cause symptoms early on. People who do have symptoms may mistake them for the flu or mono. Early symptoms of HIV are called acute retroviral syndrome. The symptoms may include:

  • Belly cramps, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, and groin.
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle aches and joint pain.
  • Skin rash.
  • Sore throat.
  • Weight loss.

These first symptoms can range from mild to severe and usually disappear on their own after 2 to 3 weeks. But many people don't have symptoms or they have such mild symptoms that they don't notice them at this stage.

Recommended Related to HIV/AIDS

HIV, AIDS, and Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a type of cancer that mainly affects the skin, mouth, and lymph nodes -- infection-fighting glands -- but can also affect other organs such as the lungs and gastrointestinal tract. KS was once rare, only affecting older men of Eastern European or Mediterranean background, young African men, or people who had organ transplants. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection has now become the most common cause of Kaposi's sarcoma. Due to weakened immune systems,...

Read the HIV, AIDS, and Kaposi’s Sarcoma article > >

After the early symptoms go away, an infected person may not have symptoms again for many years. After a certain point, symptoms reappear and then remain.

Untreated HIV infection progresses in stages. These stages are based on your symptoms and the amount of the virus in your blood.

Later symptoms

Later symptoms may include:

Symptoms in women and children

HIV may be suspected when a woman has at least one of the following:

Children who have HIV often have different symptoms (for example, delayed growth or an enlarged spleen) than teens or adults.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: February 13, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    misconception
    How much do you know?
    contemplative man
    What to do now.
     
    research
    Should you be tested?
    HIV under microscope
    What does it mean?
     
    HIV AIDS Screening
    Slideshow
    man opening condom wrapper
    Quiz
     
    HIV AIDS Treatment
    Feature
    Discrimination Stigma
    Feature
     
    Treatment Side Effects
    Feature
    grilled chicken and vegetables
    Article
     
    obese man standing on scale
    Article
    cold sore
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections