HIV and AIDS Symptoms

AIDS is one of the many diseases that may be caused due to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, commonly referred to as HIV. AIDS is a deadly disease since no cure is known to human beings yet, even though attempts to find the cure have been going on for decades now, following the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome . It is a disease in which one’s immunity reduces very quickly and as a result, one gets infections and other conditions very quickly, and these worsen very quickly as well. This happens because the virus that causes the disease kills the CD4 cells, or T cells, in the body, which in turn impairs the ability of the human body to fend against pathogens, and hence one’s health suffers drastically.

To ensure that one stays safe and continues to live a healthy life, all precautions must be taken. But even when one is careful and following all guidelines, they should carefully look out for the symptoms and get tested as soon as possible if they spot one or more of them. Every person should know and be well aware of the various symptoms of AIDS so that they can stay vigilant and ensure they get timely treatment.

The symptoms of AIDS are exhibited differently in different individuals, and some may not even experience any symptoms until up to ten years. This makes it very difficult to catch AIDS on time and start early treatment. Hence, the precautionary measures are given so much importance and people are asked to get tests regularly, especially if they are having or have had unprotected sex, or shared needles.

Early Symptoms of HIV and AIDS:

Upon being infected, after about two weeks a person may feel feverish, experience body aches, and be sick in general. These symptoms usually last for a few more weeks.

At this time, a person is likely to cause the symptom to spread since the HIV virus multiplies very quickly and is strong and present in large numbers in the infected person’s body.

Once these subside, a person may not experience symptoms of AIDS for a long time, even as long as 10 years. This is why it is crucial to connect the dots and see if one feels sick after having an encounter which could have led to an HIV infection.

Later Symptoms of HIV and AIDS:

It can be a few weeks or as long as months or years before the proper symptoms of AIDS which suggest the presence of the disease. These are discussed below in detail.


As HIV AIDS causes the body’s immunity to decrease, one becomes more prone to infections. These may be external or those of specific organs, as the decrease in the number of T cells in the body leads to weakness and inability to ward off infections.

These only get worse with time as the body’s immunity continues to decrease two-fold- due to the HIV virus and due to the infections and diseases that occur. A patient experiences rare infections, also known as opportunistic infections, which are hard to treat and hard to recover from.


The body of a patient of HIV works a lot to stay healthy since the immunity is extremely weak. The various activities of the body often exhaust a person, and headaches become constant for those with HIV AIDS.

Along with this, patients also experience lightheadedness, feeling very tired and sleepy, and more such symptoms.

Pelvic Inflammatory disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries that women experience. It is harder to treat in women who also have AIDS.

Women with AIDS are likely to have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and the symptoms are common and they keep coming back from time to time.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Patients of HIV AIDS may have swollen nodes in several parts of the body. This may happen anywhere the lymph nodes are located, but these are commonly seen in the neck, the armpits, and the groin area.

Weakened muscles and joints

Patients of AIDS have weakened bones and muscles which is why they regularly start having aches in muscles and joints, especially in the elbows, upper arms, knees, ankles, and thighs.

Weight loss

AIDS causes people to get unwell very quickly, and it is no surprise that patients lose a lot of weight very quickly. The requirement of calories in the patient’s body also increases substantially at this time. The patients also have a fever regularly which is why they exhaust more energy on an everyday basis.

External ulcers

Alongside ulcers in the stomach and intestines, patients of AIDS also start getting ulcers in visible areas, most commonly the mouth.

It is also not uncommon for these patients to get ulcers around the genitals or in and around the anus.

Skin conditions

As infections are so common, patients often also get various rashes in several parts of their body. These may be bacterial or fungal, and regular treatment may not be very effective.

Other than these most prominent symptoms, there may be other symptoms of AIDS as well that may be seen in a patient. These are more advanced, and usually start showing up a while after the disease gets severe, and medications and treatments stop working.

Some of these are listed below.

-  Fever

-  Feeling of dizziness

-  Easy bruising

-  Having diarrhea persistently

-  Shortness of breath

-  A cough

-  A sore throat

-  Unexplained bleeding from cavities such as nose, mouth, anus, vagina

-  Constant sweating

-  Purplish growth underneath the skin

-  White coating on tongue and other issues in the mouth

-  Yeast infections on the regular

-  Nausea

-  Vomiting

-  Fatigue

These AIDS symptoms are common for men and women, however, they are seen to be much more severe in men. Women, on the other hand, have other AIDS symptoms which are more prominent and more serious.

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Specific AIDS Symptoms in Women

There are specific symptoms of AIDS that are only in women and not in men. These are given below.

- Changes in the menses : a woman’s periods and her cycle can undergo a change when they catch an AIDS infection. This happens because the virus affects the immune system and the hormones of a person.
- Pain in the lower abdomen : Pain in the area where the uterus and ovaries are, is often a sign of an infection. This can also be observed when one gets an HIV infection. PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) is also a sign of HIV AIDS.
- Yeast infections : HIV in the later stages makes one prone to infections, and if a woman gets a yeast infection every now and then this could be a clear sign of HIV. Other signs can be a strange vaginal discharge, smelly discharge, red or white discharge from the vagina, burning or soreness in the vagina, pain during sex, and more.

Other than this, women also have all other symptoms of AIDS that men do.

What to do After the Diagnosis

The diagnosis of AIDS is required to be early in the disease since one can then start treatment and prevent a premature death caused due to the HIV infection.

The diagnosis is easy to do since it may be done via a simple blood test to check for the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus. It can also be diagnosed upon severe depletion of CD4 cells in the body since this situation is only possible if the patient has AIDS.

The screening tests for AIDS can be done using a person’s blood, urine, or saliva. It is only if the screening test is positive that a confirmatory test is conducted. The purpose of the confirmatory test is to ensure the screening test has given the accurate result since it can be wrong sometimes, even though the chances are very low.

Upon diagnosis with AIDS, the treatment begins. And this is really important since it ensures that the disease does not develop further and the symptoms can then be controlled. With the right precautions, one can have a normal life despite being affected by AIDS.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) How can HIV be transmitted?

Ans: HIV is transmitted through blood and sexually secreted bodily fluids. This means a person can be infected due to blood transfusion, sharing needles for injecting drugs, contact with sexually secreted fluids of the body of a person who is infected which may be through sex, oral sex, anal sex, and other forms of sexual contact.

2) What are the signs and symptoms of HIV and AIDS?

Ans: The signs and symptoms of HIV vary from specific case to case. The symptoms of initial contact are usually a fever and headache; while various other infections and organ failures are noticed in the later stages as the disease progresses.

3) What to do if I stage HIV symptom?

Ans: If you have I stage HIV symptoms you should seek immediate treatment as controlling the symptoms of HIV is easiest in this stage. With proper care, one can completely avoid the later complications that come with the diseases.

4) How long does it take for HIV symptoms to show?

Ans: HIV symptoms may not show for a long time as the virus can stay dormant in the body while gaining strength for as long as ten years. This is why one should get screened for HIV from time to time if they are involved in any instance which can cause transmission of the virus.

5) Do flu-like symptoms mean I have HIV?

Ans: Flu-like symptoms can be seen due to a lot of reasons. Flu-like symptoms may be due to dengue or malaria, infections in the body, and others, along with HIV. This is why, if one has a doubt, they should get tested by a trained physician to get a proper diagnosis of their condition.

6) Can you get symptoms of HIV one week after infection?

Ans: Yes, one is likely to have the symptoms of HIV one week after the infection as this is when the virus is spreading across the body and gaining strength.

7) How long do acute HIV symptoms last?

Ans: Acute symptoms of HIV can last very long, expectedly a lifetime and until a person dies. A person’s life expectancy is also very low if they are a patient with HIV. The acute symptoms of HIV, once they begin, are not escapable and a person has to live with them until their death. There are very few cases very acute symptoms of HIV are controlled using medication.

8) How long can you have HIV without any symptoms?

Ans: The HIV virus can stay dormant in the body for as long as 10 years. This means there will be no symptoms and no clear signs of any disease. This is why the safest way to ensure one is HIV-free is to get a test. One should always take care to follow precautions and stay safe from HIV.

9) Can the symptoms of HIV start to show the day after being infected?

Ans: Symptoms of HIV are not likely to be seen in a day or two, as this is the gestation period of the pathogen which is the human immunodeficiency virus. However, all doubts should be addressed and a doctor should be consulted in case there are any doubts in a person’s mind.

10) How long will it take to notice the symptoms of HIV?

Ans: It can take a long time to notice the symptoms of HIV as the virus can stay dormant in the body for a long time and not show any symptoms. It can take anywhere from a few months to ten years to notice the symptoms of HIV.

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Last updated on : 25-10-2018

Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.

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