Symptoms of HIV infection

When virus enters the organism it usually doesn't make some visible changes. At 10% of infected person, two to six weeks after infection unspecific signs of disease, similar to symptoms of infective mononucleosis, can appear. Symptoms can be: raising body temperature with enlargement of lymph glands, throat inflammation, and pains in muscles, skin rash that is similar to one that appears at measles.

In that period, by the rule, antibodies on protein span of virus gp41 can't be proved. Those antibodies are specific for HIV and can be detected 4-6 weeks since infection, although in some cases to develop seroconversion it takes 6-16 months. For that reason this period is called “window period”, when infection exists, when infected can infect the others, but testing doesn't discover antibodies present on gp41. Still, in this period presence of protein p24, which is antigen of protein nucleus of virus, can be proved and with certainty determine presence of HIV infection. Acute disease of cerebral membranes and brain, isolated paralyze of facial nerve or liver inflammations are very rare in this stadium.

Symptoms of HIV infection are not developed at the beginning among great number of people. Time which pass between infection and symptom appearance varies extremely. Some patients develop symptoms of having cold already after month or two. They have temperature, headache, slackness and enlarged lymph glands. These symptoms disappear usually after month and are attributed to some other virus disease. During this period person is highly contagious and HIV is presents in big quantities in genital fluids. In period of this asymptomatic interval, HIV is very active in replicating, attacking and killing lymphocytes of immune system. Results are most visible in decreasing number of CD4 lymphocyte. Virus is destroying these lymphocytes without any visible clinical symptoms. As immune system is weakening, many complications start to appear. One of first symptoms patients notice are swollen lymph glands, which last more than 5 months.

Following symptoms require attention as the can be sign of HIV infection:

  • Rapid weight loosing;
  • Dry cough;
  • Chronically temperature and night sweat;
  • Long-lasting, inexplicable fatigue;
  • Enlarged lymph glands under armpit, in groins or on neck;
  • Diarrhea which last longer than a week;
  • White smears or unusual redness of tongue, mouth or neck;
  • Pneumonia;
  • Forgetfulness, depression, or some the other neurological disturbances.

Each of these symptoms can be linked with some other disease. Only blood testing on HIV can prove that these symptoms are related to AIDS.