The commonest symptom in a person with HIV infection is – none. Most early symptoms only last for brief periods during the infection and may subside without specific treatments. The only way to be sure if you have HIV is to get a HIV test done. ( Depending on circumstances, you may also need STD tests. ) Do give us a call at 9662 5512 to find out more about HIV and STD tests.
You may have read or heard about something called ‘acute retroviral syndrome’ ( ARS ) or‘seroconversion illness’ ( SCI ). These refers to a group of symptoms which a person may experience within a few weeks after HIV infection. Acute retroviral syndrome is the result of an inflammatory reaction in our immune system caused by movement of the virus into our bloodstream and beginning to reproduce in large numbers. This occurs in up to 40-90% of infected persons.
Common symptoms in ARS / SCI may include:
- bodyaches / headaches
- sore throat
- swollen neck, armpit or groin glands
- night sweats
These symptoms may also be found in other viral infections. Thereafter, there may not be any symptoms for even many years.
Late symptoms of HIV generally appear after the immune system has been greatly affected and weakened. They usually indicate advanced infection and are therefore more serious. Late symptoms may again include :
- fatigue or loss of energy
- fever / night sweats
- skin rash
In addition, patients may experience:
- weight loss
- nausea / vomiting / diarrhoea ( which can also be side effects of anti-HIV medications )
- cough / breathlessness
- nail changes
- tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- increased frequency or severity of genital herpes / cold sores
- increased frequency or severity of yeast / thrush / fungal infections
- confusion, memory problems, poor coordination
Without treatment, HIV infected patients usually develop full blown AIDS ( acquired immunodeficiency syndrome ) in time. At this stage, patients are prone to developing lymphomas ( lymph node cancers ), cervical cancer and Kaposi sarcoma ( a form of skin cancer ). They are also prone to infections like tuberculosis and cytomegalovirus ( a type of herpes virus ). With AIDS, the survival time if no treatment is given has been estimated to be 2-3 years on average.