HIV symptoms and course

Many people develop symptoms, especially shortly after being infected or if the HIV infection has been untreated for a long time. You can only determine whether you have HIV infection with an HIV test. If you need a car cover on your visit a physician for a test then can provide you options.

How does HIV infection work?

If an HIV infection is not treated with medication, it usually has four phases:

  • Phase 1: Acute HIV infection
  • Phase 2: HIV infection with no symptoms
  • Phase 3: HIV infection with symptoms
  • Phase 4: AIDS

Acute HIV infection

Symptoms such as muscle aches, skin rash, and tonsil and lymph node swelling usually appear two to four weeks after infection.

These signs of acute HIV infection go away on their own after one to two weeks and are often mistakenly interpreted as flu or intestinal infections.

HIV infection with no symptoms

The acute phase with high virus replication is usually followed by a symptom-free or low-symptom phase with low virus replication. The immune system can keep HIV in check to some extent. This creates a kind of balance between virus replication and virus defense. This equilibrium usually lasts for several years.

Nevertheless, HIV causes permanent damage to the body’s defenses and some organs.

HIV infection with symptoms

Without HIV treatment, the immune system will eventually be so weakened that symptoms occur.


One speaks of AIDS when certain serious illnesses occur, for example:

  • A certain type of pneumonia
  • Fungal infection of the esophagus and windpipe or
  • Certain types of cancer

The essentials about HIV symptoms

  • HIV symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.
  • Symptoms such as fever, fatigue, night sweats, or swollen lymph nodes may appear shortly after an HIV infection. These usually disappear again after a short time.
  • This is typically followed by a long period of time without symptoms. Nevertheless, HIV harms the body.
  • Without HIV treatment, the immune system will eventually be so weakened that life-threatening diseases will occur. Then one speaks of AIDS.
  • Thanks to HIV medication, one can live long and well with HIV and prevent AIDS.
  • HIV symptoms are unspecific and can also occur with other diseases. Swelling of the lymph nodes with night sweats does not necessarily mean that you have been infected with HIV. However, if symptoms occur close to an HIV risk, an HIV test can be useful.
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