HIV may not cause symptoms for many years. The first ones often feel like you have the flu. The virus is rapidly reproducing during this time. The body’s immune system is mounting a defense. During this phase, you can still pass HIV to others.

First symptoms that appear:

  • Fever
  • Excess tiredness
  • Swollen glands in armpits, neck, or groin
  • Headache
  • Dry cough
  • Night sweats
  • Rash
  • Sore throat
  • Joint pain

After these go away, you may not notice anything for months or many years. Despite this, the virus is growing and causing damage to your immune system. During this time, you can pass HIV to others.

Over the next 1 to 3 years, you may notice:

Untreated, HIV progresses to AIDS. The immune system is weak. This opens the door to opportunistic infections. These happen in people who don't have a healthy immune system. People with AIDS get them because their body can't fight them off.

Common opportunistic infections are:

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