1. Early symptoms
In the early weeks after becoming infected with HIV, it’s not uncommon for people to be without symptoms. Some people may have mild flu-like symptoms, including: fever, headache, lack of energy. Often, these symptoms go away within a few weeks. In some cases, it may take as many as 10 years for more severe symptoms to appear.
2. Skin rashes and skin sores
Most people with HIV develop skin problems. Rash is the most common symptom of HIV. In a person with HIV, the skin can become extremely sensitive to irritants and sunlight. A rash may appear as a flat red patch with small bumps, and skin may become flaky.
Sores, or lesions, may form on the skin of the mouth, genitals, and anus, and may be difficult to treat. People with HIV are also at increased risk of herpes and shingles. With proper medication, skin problems may become less severe.
3. Swollen glands
We all have lymph nodes throughout our bodies, including the neck, back of the head, armpits, and groin. As part of the immune system, our lymph nodes fend off infections by storing immune cells and filtering for harmful substances. As the HIV infection begins to spread, the immune system kicks into high gear. The result is enlarged lymph nodes, commonly known as swollen glands. It’s often one of the first signs of HIV. In people infected with HIV, swollen glands may last for several months.