Signs and symptoms

The first symptoms of HIV can appear within six weeks of 
infection but after a few weeks they usually disappear. 
After this many people have no symptoms for years.

HIV affects the ability of your body's immune system to fight off infection. 
If the HIV is left untreated, it will destroy a type of white blood cell called 
CD4 T-cells, which play an important role in your immune system. 

The number of CD4 blood cells that you have is called your CD4 count. 
The lower your CD4 count is, the more likely you are to show signs of illness. 
However, a low CD4 count is not an illness in itself. Some people remain well 
when their CD4 counts get lower, at least for a while. Other people with HIV 
may start developing symptoms before their CD4 count is lowered.

What to look out for

Common symptoms of HIV infection, especially as 
your CD4 counts get lower, include:

- unintentional weight loss
- chronic diarrhoea
- skin rashes, especially on your face, genitals or anus
- ulcers or infections in your mouth and genitals
- sweats, especially at night
- unusual tiredness
- nausea or loss of appetite
- swollen lymph glands in the neck, groin or armpits.

These symptoms can all be caused by conditions other than HIV, and do not 
mean you have AIDS. However, if you experience all or some of these 
symptoms persistently, it might be a good idea to get an HIV test, especially
if you think you may have been at risk of HIV infection.

You can find out more about the signs of HIV infection on the 
THT website here.