This is also called acute (primary) infection. The early symptoms of HIV can feel like having the flu. Around 2-6 weeks after getting HIV, you may start to experience these flu-like symptoms. These normally don’t last long (a week or two). You may only get some of the symptoms and some people don’t have any symptoms at all.
Symptoms can include:
These symptoms happen because your body is reacting to the HIV virus. Cells that are infected with HIV are circulating throughout your blood system. In response, your immune system tries to attack the virus by producing HIV antibodies. This process is called seroconversion. It can take up to a few months to go through the seroconversion process.
Because of this, HIV will not always show up in a test at this early stage, so your healthcare worker will talk to you about when you should test for HIV. This may be up to three months after you were exposed to HIV. You will need to test up to two more times to confirm your result.
In this early stage of infection, the amount of HIV in your blood is high. You’re more likely to pass the virus onto others if you have unprotected sex or share needles to inject drugs.