Within a month or two of HIV entering the body, 40% to 90% of people experience flu-like symptoms known as an acute retroviral syndrome (ARS).
But sometimes HIV symptoms don’t appear for years, some even a decade, after infection.
So don’t believe what you may see in movies or on TV of a person having sex and then the next week they have lesions on their lip or are pale. Some symptoms you don’t even see outside the body.
Here are some signs that you may be HIV-positive (especially if you are engaging in unprotected sex). **Please remember, these signs become more serious if they persist over a long period of time.**
1. Long Fever
One of the first signs of ARS can be a mild fever, up to about 102 degrees F that continually comes back. The fever, if it occurs at all, is often accompanied by other usually mild symptoms, such as fatigue, swollen lymph glands, and a sore throat.
“At this point the virus is moving into the blood stream and starting to replicate in large numbers,” says Carlos Malvestutto, MD, instructor of infectious diseases and immunology in the department of medicine at NYU School of Medicine in New York City. “As that happens, there is an inflammatory reaction by the immune system.”
2. Tingling & Weakness
Late HIV can also cause numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. This is called peripheral neuropathy, which also occurs in people with uncontrolled diabetes.”This is when the nerves are actually damaged,” Dr. Malvestutto says. These symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and antiseizure medicines such as Neurontin (gabapentin).
3. Night Sweats
About half of people get night sweats during the early stages of HIV infection, Dr. Malvestutto says. These can be even more common later in infection and aren’t related to exercise or the temperature of the room. Similar to the hot flashes that menopausal women suffer, they’re also hard to dismiss, given that they soak your bedclothes and sheets.
4. Sore Throat & Headache
As with other symptoms, sore throat and headache can often be recognized as ARS only in context, Dr. Horberg says. If you’ve engaged recently in high-risk behavior,