AIDS Home > Symptoms of HIV

Fatigue, rapid weight loss, swollen lymph glands, and sores in the mouth are common symptoms of HIV. However, these can take up to ten years to appear, so symptoms alone should not be used to determine whether someone has HIV/AIDS. In the absence of symptoms and signs, people who believe they may be infected should have a blood test, which is the only way to know if a person has HIV.

Signs and Symptoms of HIV: An Overview

The only way to know if you are infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is to be tested for it. You cannot rely on possible symptoms of HIV alone to know whether or not you are infected. Many people who are infected with the virus do not show symptoms for many years. The following may be warning signs of an actual HIV infection:
 
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Dry cough
  • Recurring fever or profuse night sweats
  • Profound and unexplained fatigue
  • Swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
  • White spots or unusual blemishes on the tongue, in the mouth, or in the throat
  • Pneumonia
  • Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
  • Memory loss, depression, and other neurological disorders.
     
However, no one should assume they are infected just because they have these symptoms. Each of these symptoms can be related to other illnesses. You also cannot rely on symptoms to establish that a person has AIDS. HIV symptoms are similar to symptoms of many other illnesses.
 
(Click HIV Symptoms for more information.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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