Skip to Content

Early HIV symptoms: What are they?

Medically reviewed on September 20, 2017.

Early HIV symptoms usually occur within a couple of weeks to a month or two after infection and are often like a bad case of the flu. In many people, early HIV signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Rash
  • Sore joints or muscles
  • Sore throat

These early HIV symptoms are called acute retroviral syndrome or primary HIV infection and are the body's natural response. Symptoms, if they appear at all, usually disappear within a week to a month and are often mistaken for those of another viral infection. During this period, you are very infectious. More-persistent or more-severe symptoms of HIV infection may not appear for several years after the initial infection.

The symptoms that indicate an early HIV infection are extremely common. Often, you can't tell them apart from symptoms of another viral infection. If you're concerned that you might have been exposed to HIV, talk to your doctor about your testing options.

© 1998-2018 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use

Hide