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How long do HIV symptoms take to surface?

Answered by: Dr Bir Singh

Faculty Incharge, Sex and Marriage Counselling Clinic Co-ordinator, AIDS Education & Training Cell, Professor of Community Medicine AIIMS, New Delhi- 110029

Q. I am a 43 years old man. I want to know the difference between window period and symptom period with respect human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. I have read that skin itching is not the sole but a very common symptom of HIV. Is this true? How long do HIV symptoms take to surface?

A.  Window period is the period during which the HIV infection is present in the body but the antibodies against this virus are not detectable in the blood test. There is no term like Symptom Period. What you probably mean is the Incubation Period, which refers to the time period between entry of HIV in the body and appearance of symptoms of AIDS. This period can vary from two years to 12 years. Itching alone is not a symptom of primary HIV infection.

A.  Window period is the period during which the HIV infection is present in the body but the antibodies against this virus are not detectable in the blood test. There is no term like Symptom Period. What you probably mean is the Incubation Period, which refers to the time period between entry of HIV in the body and appearance of symptoms of AIDS. This period can vary from two years to 12 years. Itching alone is not a symptom of primary HIV infection.

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