Acute Retriviral Syndrome ARS

HIV symptoms vary depending on the individual and stage of the disease.

2 to 4 weeks after initial HIV infection a person may start developing symptoms. This is called acute retroviral syndrome or ARS. Common symptoms of ARS include fever, swollen glands, sore throat, rash, fatigue, body pains and headache. Read HIV Rash

HIV ARS signs and symptoms

You should not assume you have HIV if you have any of these symptoms. These symptoms can be also caused by other illnesses. Conversely, not everyone who is infected with HIV develops ARS. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all.

Clinical Latency Stage

The disease will progress to clinical latency stage where the virus is developing in the body but no HIV signs and symptoms are seen. During this stage, HIV in the body multiplies and causes the immune system to weaken; as the viral loads increases, CD4 decreases.

When CD4 decreases, a person will be prone to opportunistic infections. Since a person with HIV can remain symptom-free, it is impossible to know his or her HIV status without a HIV test. – HIV Window Period

If you are on antiretroviral therapy (ART), you may live with clinical latency for several decades because treatment helps keep the virus in check.

For people who are not on ART, this clinical latency stage lasts an average of 8 – 10 years, but some people may progress through this phase faster.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – AIDS

Acute Retroviral Syndrome - ARS

HIV progresses to AIDS when your immune system is seriously damaged. AIDS can cause severe symptoms including rapid weight loss, recurring fever, profuse night sweats, extreme tiredness, swollen glands, diarrhoea, mouth sores, lung infections and neurological disorders. See: Common HIV Opportunistic Infection 

It is impossible to know your HIV status unless you get an HIV Test.


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*Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is short-term antiretroviral treatment to reduce the likelihood of HIV infection after potential exposure.


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