The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is a virus that is transmitted via the blood and bodily fluids. HIV attacks the CD4+ T cells, which are blood cells that help the body fight diseases and germs. It may lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, which occurs when HIV reaches its final stage and the body can not fight off diseases. Many patients do not have any symptoms for up to 10 years. However, some patients may develop many symptoms shortly after being infected.
Patients recently infected with HIV may experience an acute infection. During this phase, the virus reproduces rapidly in the body and destroys the body’s CD4+ T cells. This leads to the appearance of the acute HIV syndrome. According to AIDS.gov, about 2 to 4 weeks after acquiring the virus, the patient may develop flu-like symptoms, including headache, fever, muscle aches, sore throat and fatigue. These symptoms usually resolve in about a month. Usually, the patient is thought to the flu and HIV is not diagnosed.
Patients with an HIV infection may develop loss of appetite, which can lead to a significant loss in weight. Although this symptom is more common in the later stages of HIV, it may also be present during the acute phase. Unexplained weight loss may be due to many diseases and the patient should contact a physician if she experiences significant weight loss.
Nausea and Diarrhea
Nausea and Diarrhea may also develop within a few weeks after becoming infected with HIV, states HIV-Symptoms.info. These symptoms may also be confused with the flu or other infection and go away within a few weeks.
Skin rash may develop during the acute phase of HIV. The rash characterized by red, small red bumps on the skin. The rash may be confused with an allergic reaction. The patient should contact a physician if a rash develops to ensure that further medical examination or treatment if not necessary.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
During the acute HIV syndrome, swollen lymph nodes are another common symptom. After other symptoms have disappeared the lymph nodes remain enlarged, felt as small, painless lumps in the neck, under the arms or in the groin, states Merck.com. If a patient notices lumps or unexplained swelling, he should inform a physician who can perform the proper blood exams.