HIV/AIDS: Initial (Early) Symptoms

Every disease has its own peculiar symptoms. Such symptoms may not be exactly same for every individual even though the name given to the diagnosed disease may be the same. It is true for nearly all the diseases because every individual is a unique entity; no two individuals are alike. Therefore, appearance, development and overall picture of symptoms varies from person to person. In most cases, people with weaker health and sensitive immune system may run in to complications earlier than others whereas some may go on for a much longer period with or without medication. The symptoms of HIV-AIDS appear in two stages; initial or early symptoms that appear soon after infection and later symptoms that appear when HIV has progressed to AIDS.

Early Symptoms

Initially, the symptoms of infection resemble that of viral flu and those generally associated with flu. In certain cases, no symptoms may appear at all. In some cases, diarrhea (loose and watery) or vomiting may appear instead of flu while some persons may experience only nausea. These symptoms include:

  • Flu, running nose and/or diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Sore Throat
  • Ulcers in mouth and esophagus
  • Headache
  • Fatigue, feelings of general weakness and discomfort
  • Anorexia (decreased or lost appetite)
  • Swelling of lymph glands
  • Muscular stiffness or aching (myalgia)

These symptoms appear few weeks after the first infection and generally disappear in a month or so. These are usually mistaken as some other viral infection. During this period, viral load in the body is high and spreads to different parts and organs of the body especially to the lymphoid tissue. During this initial period, one is very likely to infect others. As the body’s immune system puts up the resistance, the initial symptoms disappear and the viral load drops. From here onwards, one remains symptom free till the symptoms of AIDS start appearing. This period is different for different persons, from few months to many years but remaining symptom free for a period does not mean that the virus sits idle in the body. In fact this is the time when it multiplies and silently and continuously destroys the immune system. It also passes on the infection to others. This process of destruction of immune system goes on and on. When the immune system becomes weak enough and can no longer fight the onslaught of virus, it becomes vulnerable to any other opportunistic viral infection. By that time, virus count becomes much higher than CD4 cells, which are responsible to fight the infections. Thus the virus takes over with almost complete supremacy.

If we look at details of the symptoms and the way they develop, it can be understood that if medicines and diet are chosen accordingly, very positive results can be achieved safely and quickly.