(877) 457-3082(866) 660-2593
M-F 6a-9p | Sat 7a-9p | Sun 9a-9p CDT
Reviewed by Frank Cockerill, MD, Mar. 28, 2017
What are the signs of HIV?
It may take a very long time, 10 years or more, for an HIV symptom to
show up. This is called the "asymptomatic" period. Other people may
get symptoms shortly after being infected with the virus. The only way to
know if you have HIV is to get an HIV test. The Centers for Disease
Control (CDC) recommends sexually active adults get tested for STDs at
least once a year or more if you take part in higher risk sexual
You can't tell by looking. Any sexually active person can get HIV.
There are only 2 ways to know: ask your partner and get tested for HIV.
If I had HIV symptoms, what would they feel like?
Early symptoms can feel like a flu that lasts longer than usual. This
flu-like illness is called HIV seroconversion syndrome and occurs 4 to 8
weeks after infection. This illness may cause a variety of symptoms
During this initial month of sickness the body's immune system fights
most of the HIV virus, which usually makes the symptoms go away. Most
people mistake these symptoms for other viral infections. During this
period, people are very contagious with the virus.
What happens if HIV is not detected and controlled?
Over the months and years that HIV goes undetected, your immune system
is continuously weakened. When symptoms finally return, there are often
complications from other infections that won't go away. This could either
be stronger flu-like symptoms such as swollen lymph glands (neck and
groin), lack of energy, repeated fevers and night sweats, diarrhea,
headaches, body aches, sore throats and joint pain, or other signs of
sickness such as losing weight, short-term memory loss, mouth sores/ulcers,
and gingivitis (gum disease).
For women, repeat infections or complications often arise such as yeast
infections (in the mouth or in the vagina) or pelvic inflammatory disease
(PID) that won't respond to treatment. Other symptoms that often arise from
an HIV-weakened immune system include repeated skin rashes or flaky skin,
oral thrush (fungus causing white spots in mouth, throat and tongue), skin
pox (sores or blisters), fungal infections on the skin or nails, and
seborrheic dermatitis (oily coating, crusts, or scales on the skin).