How can I tell if I'm infected with HIV? What are the symptoms?

Armen Hareyan's picture
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The only way to know if you are infected is to be tested for HIV infection. You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether or not you are infected with HIV. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for many years.

The following may be warning signs of infection with HIV:

  • rapid weight loss
  • dry cough
  • recurring fever or profuse night sweats
  • profound and unexplained fatigue
  • swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
  • diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
  • white spots or unusual blemishes on the tongue, in the mouth, or in the throat
  • pneumonia
  • red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
  • memory loss, depression, and other neurological disorders

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However, no one should assume they are infected if they have any of these symptoms. Each of these symptoms can be related to other illnesses. Again, the only way to determine whether you are infected is to be tested for HIV infection.

Similarly, you cannot rely on symptoms to establish that a person has AIDS. The symptoms of AIDS are similar to the symptoms of many other illnesses. AIDS is a medical diagnosis made by a doctor based on specific criteria established by the CDC.

For more information refer to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

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