What are the Symptoms of HIV

First signs of HIV infection

Shortly after infection with HIV (usually 11-15 days) the virus multiplies rapidly. In more than half of those affected, the early phase of the disease runs without or with only a few uncharacteristic symptoms. About 25% of the newly infected go through a symptomatic acute HIV infection. Common symptoms in this early phase of the disease are:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • general exhaustion
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of appetite
  • skin rash
  • Inflammation of the lining of the mouth and throat
  • Joint pain

The symptoms of an acute infection with the HI virus are similar to those of the flu or glandular fever (infection with the Epstein Barr virus). In this early phase of the disease, the HI viruses multiply explosively, so that the viral load of those affected can rise to several million viruses per milliliter of blood. At the same time, the number of certain immune cells, the so-called CD4 cells, drops briefly, only to then recover.

Since the infected person has not yet formed any antibodies against the pathogen, it is not yet possible to diagnose an HIV infection by means of an HIV test. The diagnosis of an acute HIV infection can only be made by direct virus detection (PCR) until anti-HIV antibodies appear.