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What are the common first symptoms of HIV?

Many people infected with HIV only become aware of their HIV status after they start having symptoms. The type of symptoms and time it takes for symptoms to appear to vary from one person to another.

A few weeks after the infection, some people have symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Joint pains
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Others report sore throat, flu-like illness, and tiredness

These symptoms may disappear after a few weeks and while they may not re-appear for a few years, the virus will continue to weaken your immune system.

These, and others, are your body’s way of telling you that it is fighting against something foreign. These symptoms can last a few weeks or longer. At this point, you will have what is known as primary (acute) HIV infection which may last for a few weeks or longer.

I have these symptoms, does that mean that I have HIV?


Remember that the fact that you have these symptoms does not automatically mean that you are infected with HIV. The best way to find out is to take an HIV test.

That’s not all:

It is important to note that whether an infected person has shown signs or not, they can transmit the virus to others. So, even if you or your partner are not showing any signs, the best way to know whether you’re infected is by taking an HIV test.

If an infected person does not get on treatment, HIV infection will continue to weaken the immune system. This results in an increased risk of infections and illnesses and can eventually lead to the development of AIDS.

Things to keep in mind:

  • If you suspect that you may have been infected with HIV or are at risk of contracting the virus, go to the hospital as soon as possible.
  • If you are at a higher risk of getting HIV, regular testing is recommended.
  • While HIV does not have a cure, Antiretroviral therapy (ARVs) can help people with HIV lead long, healthy lives. ARVs can prevent the progression to AIDS by decreasing the viral load in an infected body.

Do you have any questions? Talk to us in the comments section.

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LoveMatters Africa

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