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Do early symptoms of HIV infection last a long time?

Friday, 11 June 2004
Answered by: Dr. L.M.Nath
Consultant, Community Medicine,

New Delhi
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Q. This is regarding the early stage of HIV infection. I read some articles which say that the initial symptoms are apparent when AVS occurs after which there is seroconversion. Also AVS symptoms such as joint pains, diahorrea etc are present at around 2-6 weeks from the date of infection and usually last for about 1 week. It also says many HIV infected persons have not shown any AVS sysmptoms at all. My question to the expert is, can AVS symptoms last for a very long duration i.e. starting 3 weeks and going on for 6-8 weeks duration. I know all experts say getting HIV test at 3 month is the best way to know if one is HIV+ but what do statistics show?

A.  Soon after infection, the person has a mild flue like illness. Because it is mild, many persons either do not register it in their minds as an episode of illness. This generally does not last long and I have no evidence of any reports that these symptoms last for weeks. It is generally described as a transient illness lasting a few days. The reason for the test being done after 3 months or more is not connected with the early manifestations of vireamia but because the body develops antibodies slowly and it takes that long for the level of antibodies being high enough to give a positive test result.

A.  Soon after infection, the person has a mild flue like illness. Because it is mild, many persons either do not register it in their minds as an episode of illness. This generally does not last long and I have no evidence of any reports that these symptoms last for weeks. It is generally described as a transient illness lasting a few days. The reason for the test being done after 3 months or more is not connected with the early manifestations of vireamia but because the body develops antibodies slowly and it takes that long for the level of antibodies being high enough to give a positive test result.

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