At the onset of HIV infection, at least 90% of people infected with HIV will start experiencing symptoms that will tell them something is wrong with their body. If you know you are at risk of possibly having any sexually transmitted disease, this is the right time to get checked.

40% to 90% of people who had chanced exposure to HIV, experience flu-like symptoms known as an acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) a month or two after HIV entered the body. However, there are cases of HIV infection that don’t show symptoms or HIV symptoms, don't appear for years, sometimes even a decade, after infection.

According to Kaiser Permanente's Director of HIV/AIDS, Michael Horberg, MD, of Oakland, California, “One in five people in the United States with HIV doesn't know they have it, which is why it's so important to get tested, especially if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner or use intravenous drugs.”

But, if you’re really nervous about the symptoms you are experiencing, here are some HIV symptoms that you can check with, to settle your fears at the earliest time possible.


Mild fever of up and about 102 degrees is one of the first signs of ARS. Usually, this mild fever if it appears at all, also often comes with other typical mild symptoms, such as swollen lymph glands, a sore throat, and extreme fatigue.


You feel extremely fatigued, because the virus has started to move into the bloodstream, and is currently reproducing in large numbers, triggering an inflammatory reaction by the immune system. The inflammatory response that is generated stresses your immune system, causing you to feel tired and lethargic. Fatigue can be both an early and late sign of HIV. Often, fatigue is a symptom of both acute and newly contracted HIV infection.

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Painful muscles and joints

Achy muscles, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes are often symptoms that are also associated with ARS. ARS often is mistaken for mononucleosis, the flu, or other viral infection, even hepatitis or syphilis. This similarity of symptoms is common in most STDs. Lymph nodes are part of the body's immune system, and inflammation is normal reactions of lymph nodes to infection. Lymph nodes are found in the neck, armpit, and groin.

Sore throat and headache

Indistinguishable from other symptoms, sore throat and headache can only be recognized as ARS when you've recently engaged in high-risk behavior. Getting an STD testing, primarily designed for HIV is always a good idea, for your safety and for others. In its earliest stage, HIV is most contagious.

At this stage, the body has not yet produced antibodies to HIV, so an antibody test may not yet pick the HIV infection up. (It takes weeks to a few months for HIV antibodies to give an impression in a blood test). The best test options are those that detect viral RNA, within nine days of infection.

Skin rash

Even at the earliest stage, skin rashes already appears. This is a common HIV AIDS symptoms that also manifest in the late stage course.

These rashes typically look like boils, on itchy pink areas, that can be found in different parts of the trunk. They usually are not easy to treat and quite a bit mysterious in nature. Now, that should prompt you to get an HIV test.

Diarrhea and nausea that cause vomiting

From studies, anywhere from 30% to 60% of HIV positive people go through short-term bouts of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in the early stages. When these symptoms again re-appear in the later stage of the infection, usually this is a result of an antiretroviral therapy and of an opportunistic infection.

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Usually, diarrhea is unrelenting and unresponsive to regular therapy. Or the symptoms may be caused by an organism, not usually present in people with healthy immune systems.

Weight loss

The weight loss associated with HIV AIDS symptoms is called the "AIDS wasting," which usually appears when the infection is at its most advanced stage. Frequently linked to severe diarrhea. When people lost a lot of weight unintentionally (not making any dietary restrictions and heavy exercises to lose weight). This typically means the immune system is already fairly depleted. Especially, when losing a lot of weight even if you continue to eat as much as possible. A typical late-stage symptom manifestation, which is fairly common for HIV. Lately, thanks to antiretroviral therapy, this symptom is becoming less commonplace.


A dry cough can be caused by bad allergies and so is by a bad HIV virus. Do not take it for granted seek medical help immediately.


A dry cough and weight loss can end up as pneumonia and you might start taking medication for pneumonia. According to research by C. Feldman from Department of Medicine, Johannesburg Hospital, South Africa, pneumonia is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected patients.

Night sweats

At the onset of HIV infection, night sweats are very common among HIV patients. If you are having night sweats when you are in a very comfortable room or not having nightmares at all, tell your doctor about it.

Your nails change color

Have you noticed any changes in your nails? Do they look like they are dying and are going black?

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Yeast infection

Another symptom of HIV is a yeast infection which commonly shows up in the mouth. Candida fungus causes the infection. It is not painful but bothersome especially once you start feeling those patches in your mouth.

Confused and cannot concentrate

HIV can cause dementia as well so if you are suddenly having issues concentrating and remembering things, you must take HIV medications instantly.