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Hiv symptoms late stage: Symptoms of HIV | HIV.gov

Symptoms of HIV | HIV.gov

Content From: HIV.govUpdated: June 15, 20225 min read


How Can You Tell If You Have HIV?

The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. You can’t rely on symptoms to tell whether you have HIV.

Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information so you can take steps to keep yourself and your partner(s) healthy:

  • If you test positive, you can take medicine to treat HIV. People with HIV who take HIV medicine (called antiretroviral therapy or ART) as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long and healthy lives and will not transmit HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex. An undetectable viral load is a level of HIV in the blood so low that it can’t be detected in a standard lab test.
  • If you test negative, you have more HIV prevention tools available today than ever before, like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use, and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), HIV medicine taken within 72 hours after a possible exposure to prevent the virus from taking hold.
  • If you are pregnant, you should be tested for HIV so that you can begin treatment if you’re HIV-positive. If you have HIV and take HIV medicine as prescribed throughout your pregnancy and childbirth and give HIV medicine to your baby for 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth, your risk of transmitting HIV to your baby can be less than 1%. HIV medicine will protect your own health as well.

Use the HIV Services Locator to find an HIV testing site near you.

HIV self-testing is also an option. Self-testing allows people to take an HIV test and find out their result in their own home or other private location. You can buy a self-test kit at a pharmacy or online, or your health care provider may be able to order one for you. Some health departments or community-based organizations also provide self-test kits for a reduced cost or for free. Learn more about HIV self-testing and which test might be right for you.

What Are the Symptoms of HIV?

There are several symptoms of HIV. Not everyone will have the same symptoms. It depends on the person and what stage of the disease they are in.

Below are the three stages of HIV and some of the symptoms people may experience.

Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection

Within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV, about two-thirds of people will have a flu-like illness. This is the body’s natural response to HIV infection.

Flu-like symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rash
  • Night sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Mouth ulcers

These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But some people do not have any symptoms at all during this early stage of HIV.

Don’t assume you have HIV just because you have any of these symptoms—they can be similar to those caused by other illnesses. But if you think you may have been exposed to HIV, get an HIV test.

Here’s what to do:

  • Find an HIV testing site near you—You can get an HIV test at your primary care provider’s office, your local health department, a health clinic, or many other places. Use the HIV Services Locator to find an HIV testing site near you.
  • Request an HIV test for recent infection—Most HIV tests detect antibodies (proteins your body makes as a reaction to HIV), not HIV itself. But it can take a few weeks after you have HIV for your body to produce these antibodies. There are other types of tests that can detect HIV infection sooner. Tell your doctor or clinic if you think you were recently exposed to HIV and ask if their tests can detect early infection.
  • Know your status—After you get tested, be sure to learn your test results. If you’re HIV-positive, see a health care provider as soon as possible so you can start treatment with HIV medicine. And be aware: when you are in the early stage of infection, you are at very high risk of transmitting HIV to others. It is important to take steps to reduce your risk of transmission. If you are HIV-negative, there are prevention tools like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) that can help you stay negative.

Stage 2: Clinical Latency

In this stage, the virus still multiplies, but at very low levels. People in this stage may not feel sick or have any symptoms. This stage is also called chronic HIV infection.

Without HIV treatment, people can stay in this stage for 10 or 15 years, but some move through this stage faster.

If you take HIV medicine exactly as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can live and long and healthy life and will not transmit HIV to your HIV-negative partners through sex.

But if your viral load is detectable, you can transmit HIV during this stage, even when you have no symptoms. It’s important to see your health care provider regularly to get your viral load checked.

Stage 3: AIDS

If you have HIV and you are not on HIV treatment, eventually the virus will weaken your body’s immune system and you will progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

This is the late stage of HIV infection.

Symptoms of AIDS can include:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Recurring fever or profuse night sweats
  • Extreme and unexplained tiredness
  • Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
  • Sores of the mouth, anus, or genitals
  • Pneumonia
  • Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
  • Memory loss, depression, and other neurologic disorders

Each of these symptoms can also be related to other illnesses. The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. If you are HIV-positive, a health care provider will diagnose if your HIV has progressed to stage 3 (AIDS) based on certain medical criteria.

Many of the severe symptoms and illnesses of HIV disease come from the opportunistic infections that occur because your body’s immune system has been damaged. See your health care provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

But be aware: Thanks to effective treatment, most people in the U.S. with HIV do not progress to AIDS. If you have HIV and remain in care, take HIV medicine as prescribed, and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you will stay healthy and will not progress to AIDS. 

Read more about the difference between HIV and AIDS.

Late Stage HIV/AIDS Symptoms, What to Expect in the Last Stage of Aids

By hospice on July 3, 2022 in Blog

Table of Contents

A matter of mere decades ago, there were very few effective treatments for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, more commonly known as AIDS. While there is no cure for the condition as of yet, several drugs have been developed that allow patients with the condition to go on to live long, happy lives.

AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. The earlier the virus is detected, the sooner effective treatment can be administered, increasing a patient’s chances of living a normal life and reducing their chances of developing AIDS.

That being said, if you or a loved one suffer from AIDS, it is worth learning what to expect once it has developed to its later stages. While this is not a pleasant eventuality to contemplate, it can allow you to better prepare for the future. To that end, this article will explain some of the most commonly occurring late-stage HIV symptoms.

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What is HIV and how does it lead to AIDS?

While HIV and AIDS are often spoken about within a shared context, they are not the same thing. Rather, HIV is a condition that can lead to someone developing AIDS. HIV doesn’t turn into AIDS in all cases, but all AIDS patients suffer from the condition as a direct result of HIV.

What is HIV and how does it spread?

Human immunodeficiency virus is a condition that weakens the human immune system by damaging white blood cells. These cells fight off infection in the body. When they are damaged, you are left more susceptible to diseases and everyday illnesses.

The condition can be passed through sexual contact, sharing syringes, or through pregnancy and breastfeeding. Two to six weeks after contracting the infection, most people experience flu-like symptoms for one or two weeks. Since it can be so easily mistaken for the flu and since other symptoms may not develop for years, many people do not realize they’ve caught HIV until it is quite advanced.

As more and more of your white blood cells are damaged by the virus, you may find yourself dealing with chronic symptoms of infection. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • A high temperature.
  • Tiredness.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Unexplained weight loss.

What is AIDS?

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is the final stage of untreated HIV, during which the body’s white cell count is at a critical low. This leaves the patient unable to fight off opportunistic infections that are less likely to occur in those with robust immune systems.

Some of these conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Pneumonia.
  • Tuberculosis (TB).
  • Lymphoma and cervical cancer.
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.
  • Encephalopathy.

As well as the symptoms associated with these conditions, an AIDS patient in the last stage of the disease will experience further symptoms.

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Symptoms shown in the late stages of AIDS

Developing a secondary illness such as pneumonia or cancer can be a warning sign of AIDS. Doctors will also examine your white blood cells, looking for a low CD4 T lymphocyte count. It is this cell that is primarily responsible for fighting off infection.

As the patient reaches the final stages of AIDS, other signs will develop that are difficult to miss.

Sudden weight loss

With terminal stage AIDS, abrupt and otherwise unexplained weight loss is a common symptom. While the exact cause of this is uncertain, it is thought that it has something to do with the difficulty an AIDS patient may experience in absorbing nutrients from their food.

Chronic diarrhea is a symptom experienced by almost 100% of AIDS patients. This exacerbates problems with weight loss.


Fever is caused by your immune system trying to remove infections from your body. Because people with AIDS have a compromised immune system, the body works hard but ineffectively to fight infection, resulting in recurring fever.

Tiredness and weakness

Due to their weakened immune system and difficulty absorbing nutrients from food, many people with HIV/AIDS deal with chronic fatigue and weakness. They will be far more easily tired than they used to be, becoming exhausted after performing daily tasks or walking.

Changes in memory and mood

People with late-stage HIV may experience mood disorders, becoming depressed and losing interest in old hobbies. Some patients may struggle with memory and may even develop dementia. This can be distressing and confusing not only for the patient but also for their loved ones.

How to support patients with late Symptoms of HIV

Late-stage AIDS can be a very upsetting and difficult condition to live with—but there is help out there. Hospice care can provide emotional support and professional medical assistance, allowing patients to live out their final days in comfort and giving carers much-needed help.

If you or a loved one are currently dealing with AIDS, know you do not have to do so alone. At the All American Hospice, we provide professional and compassionate care, allowing patients and their loved ones to enjoy the time they have left together.

If you would like to find out more about hospice care for late-stage AIDS patients, you can find more information on hospice eligibility and services on the All American Hospice website.

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Red Spots on the Skin: What Are Leukemia Spots?

5 stages of HIV infection – AIDS center

HIV infection is a very specific disease that can be learned about many years after infection. For more than one year, the disease can pass in a latent stage, flowing almost asymptomatically. However, at the beginning of HIV infection, the so-called acute stage begins, the symptoms of which can become “bells” in order to be tested for HIV, especially if there has recently been a risk of infection.

In modern Russian medicine, there are 5 main stages of HIV infection, which, in turn, are also divided into several types. The first stage is incubation. It starts from the moment the human immunodeficiency virus enters the body and can last from 3 weeks to 3 months, however, there have been cases when the incubation stage lasted a whole year. During this period, the virus actively multiplies in the body. It is impossible to determine HIV at this stage, since the disease is completely asymptomatic, and the immune system has not yet begun to produce antibodies to the virus, so HIV tests in the body cannot yet be determined. The next stage is the stage of primary manifestations. It can take place in different ways: without symptoms (in this case, the only response to HIV is the production of antibodies), or acute HIV infection occurs, which can pass without secondary diseases or with them. If the acute stage passes without secondary diseases, then, as a rule, it proceeds like a common cold – a slight fever, pharyngitis, swollen lymph nodes. If there are still secondary diseases, then they are treated quickly enough, and arise as a result of low immunity. It is the acute stage that should be the first “bell”, after which a person must be tested for HIV. At this stage, antibodies to HIV have already begun to be produced by the body, so tests should already detect the presence of the virus in the body.

The acute stage is followed by the subclinical stage, which can last up to twenty years, but usually lasts 6-7 years. It is asymptomatic and only enlarged lymph nodes are a manifestation of the disease. The next stage is the stage of secondary diseases. With it, the level of lymphocytes in the blood is very low, so opportunistic diseases practically attack the body. The last stage is the so-called terminal stage, i.e. AIDS.

But it is the acute stage that is very important in determining HIV, because it is at this stage that you can pay attention to the symptoms. Of course, these symptoms are rather mediocre, and, in most cases, no one pays attention to them. However, if a person had a risk of infection with a virus, then it is simply necessary to monitor your well-being, and if body aches, fever, rash on the body and mucous membranes, diarrhea, vomiting, inflammation of the lymph nodes appear, then you need to go to the hospital and take the test. In any case, you must inform your doctor about your guesses and assumptions so that he can give precise instructions and recommend testing.
It is very important to monitor your health, listen to the reactions of the body, they are never random. If any processes occur in the body, you need to pay attention to them and go to the doctor.

Symptoms, signs and treatment of HIV infection in women and men – Medunion

HIV is an infectious disease that affects the human immune system. The pathology is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, which destroys immune cells. As a result, the body’s ability to resist infectious diseases and oncological processes is reduced.

Virus in the environment

HIV is an unstable virus, it dies outside the environment of the human body when liquids containing it dry out and dies almost instantly at temperatures above 56ºС.

Virus dies:

  • When exposed to sunlight.

  • in alkaline and acidic environments. Women who have a healthy microflora of the genital organs with high acidity are less likely to become infected.

  • From high temperatures. On the surface of objects at moderate temperatures, HIV can live up to 2 hours. However, when heated above 60 degrees, it dies in 1-2 minutes. When boiling – instantly. When disinfecting.

  • From the action of chlorine. The same action causes 6% hydrogen peroxide, kills the pathogen and 70% ethyl alcohol.

The longest HIV remains in human blood. A dried drop of blood contains an active virus for 2-3 days under normal environmental conditions. Other fluids on objects can keep the infection for 2-3 days. The lower the ambient temperature, the longer the microorganism lives.

Ways of HIV infection

HIV or AIDS is sexually transmitted during unprotected intercourse. In order to multiply in the human body, the human immunodeficiency virus, like any other virus, needs to “embed” its genetic information into a living cell. After this happens, the infected person becomes a carrier of the virus, but for a long time no signs of infection may be detected.

  • Unprotected penetrative sexual contact – anal or vaginal.

  • Sharing non-sterile injection equipment.

  • Sharing non-sterile tattoo and piercing equipment.

  • From an HIV-infected mother to her child (possible infection during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding).

The disease is not transmitted by household means, since the virus is not able to move in the environment and quickly dies. It is also impossible to get infected through a handshake or a hug. The risk of transmitting the virus through saliva is negligible; for this, two partners with wounds on the oral mucosa must kiss for quite a long time. In this case, the carrier must have a large amount of virus in the blood.

Disease classification

HIV is not one type of pathogen, but several different ones. They are all lentiviruses, which is Latin for “slow”. They got this name because of the long development of the infection.

There are 2 main types of pathogen HIV-1 and HIV-2. Both lead to a gradual decrease in immunity, but HIV-2 is less pathogenic. It has fewer viral particles per microliter of blood, so it is transmitted less frequently and does not lead to AIDS as often.

Main stages of the disease

  • Incubation – infection and subsequent multiplication of the virus in the blood occurs. It lasts up to six weeks, sometimes less. Even if infected, at this stage, the person will not see obvious signs, and a blood test will not show that there are antibodies in the blood.

  • Primary – the first signs of infection may appear. The second stage lasts for 3 weeks – at this time antibodies appear, the virus is determined in the laboratory.

  • Subclinical. The first sign of the disease appears – enlarged lymph nodes. The patient feels completely healthy, he does not complain about his well-being. Secondary diseases may appear: from frequent colds to candidiasis and pneumonia.

  • Terminal – involves rapid and progressive exhaustion, as well as the subsequent death of the patient.

Symptoms of the development of HIV infection in the body

HIV infection flows slowly and is almost asymptomatic. For many years (from 5 to 15 years) it may not disturb a person in any way. It also happens that the first signs may appear at an early stage, and then disappear and no longer bother the carrier of the infection for a long time.

Also, the first symptoms of HIV are easily confused with signs of other diseases, which can be misleading.

At the first stage:

  • sore throat, fever

  • soreness of the skin, joints, bones

  • chills, fever

  • simultaneously enlarged cervical lymph nodes

  • skin rashes may appear

New signs of HIV return after a few years of a calm and healthy life. These include:

  • severe fatigue, fatigue

  • an increase in lymph nodes – not only cervical, but already several groups

  • weight loss. Usually it looks causeless, the person does not understand what is wrong

  • fever, chills, sweating (mostly nocturnal)

  • problems with the gastrointestinal tract – usually manifested by loose stools for no apparent reason

Why is pathology dangerous?

The disease is dangerous, first of all, for the infected. Once in the blood, the pathogen gradually destroys the cells of the immune system. This process can be slowed down with antiretroviral therapy, but cannot be completely stopped. As a result, the body cannot resist infections from the outside.

Most often, patients develop thrush, stomatitis, prolonged diarrhea, frequent acute respiratory viral infections, etc. The fewer immune cells in the human body, the more dangerous diseases appear later, including tuberculosis, oncology, lesions of the peripheral nervous system, Kaposi’s sarcoma and others .

The infection can manifest itself in absolutely all organs and systems, often diseases are combined. With proper treatment, these diseases can be cured and the patient’s standard of living can be maintained.

The main danger is AIDS, the last stage of the HIV disease. The average life expectancy at this stage is up to 9 months. Although with a positive psychological state and proper therapy, the patient can live up to 3 years.

Pathology diagnostic methods

Today, special high-precision tests are used that are able to detect both viruses and antibodies to them, including in a latent course.

The presence of HIV in the human body is determined by the presence of antibodies in the blood. To do this, the patient takes blood for HIV from a vein. This analysis allows you to solve 3 problems:

  • determine the presence of the virus in the blood and start treatment at an early stage

  • identify the stage of the disease and predict its course

  • control the effectiveness of therapy

You can detect the disease using:

  1. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a highly accurate method of molecular genetic diagnostics, which allows to identify infectious and hereditary diseases in humans.

Diagnosis by this method allows you to find the pathogen directly in the gene contained in the studied materials. This is the most accurate analysis for sexual infections, latent infections, various sexually transmitted diseases.

The method is excellent in that it has a high sensitivity. It is possible to identify the causative agent of the disease even in the presence of several molecules of its DNA, that is, at very early stages. That allows you to cure the disease in time.

  1. ELISA (enzymatic immunoassay), which detects antibodies to both types of the virus (HIV 1 and 2). The reliability of the method is up to 98%. If the result is positive, the analysis is repeated or an additional analysis is carried out by the immunoblot method.

False positive results are possible with pregnancy, autoimmune diseases, hepatitis, or even the flu.

How is HIV treated?

It is necessary to start antiretroviral therapy (abbreviated ART or ART) as soon as possible after detecting traces of the virus in the body.

Antiretroviral therapy is a combination of 3-4 drugs that block the reproduction of HIV at different stages. As a result of its use, the human immunodeficiency virus ceases to multiply.

While ART is not able to completely cure HIV infection, however, it can not only prolong the life of an HIV-infected person, but also improve its quality.

No less important is the patient’s lifestyle, he is shown emotional peace, proper nutrition, and prevention of infectious diseases. Also, for high-quality treatment, it is important to undergo an examination and take tests on time.

What preventive measures should be taken?

Since the main mode of transmission of the virus is through sexual contact, only protected penetrative sex should be practiced. Otherwise, the risk of HIV infection increases.

In addition, you need:

  • use only personal hygiene products (toothbrush, razor, manicure accessories, etc.