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Many people have no symptoms when they first get HIV. Some have no symptoms for years. It varies from person to person. But some people get a flu-like illness within a month or two after first getting HIV. Those symptoms include fever, headache, being very tired, and swollen lymph nodes (glands in the neck and groin). Often the flu-like symptoms go away within a week to a month. Even if there are no signs of sickness, HIV can still be passed to another person.
It's important to remember that HIV is active inside your body, even when you don't have symptoms. As HIV spreads in your body, you'll start to feel sick. For many people, the first symptom they notice is large lymph nodes (swollen glands) that last for more than three months. Other symptoms of HIV include:
You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether you have HIV. If you have symptoms, they may be caused by something else. And many people infected with HIV have no symptoms for many years. In fact, one in five U.S. women and men infected with HIV don't know they have it. The only way to know whether you have HIV is to get a test.
There are also other health problems that are more common, serious, and harder to treat in women with HIV:
Content last updated July 01, 2011.
Resources last updated July 11, 2011.