Symptoms of acute HIV infection that typically occur two to six weeks after exposure to the virus include nausea and vomiting, headache, diarrhea, fatigue and fever, according to WebMD. Infected individuals may also experience aching muscles and develop a red rash that does not itch. After the acute infection stage, which causes symptoms for one to two weeks, the virus enters a latent stage, during which patients experience no symptoms at all.
AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, explains WebMD. During this stage, patients experience severe symptoms such as extreme tiredness, night sweats, fever that lasts longer than 10 days, long-lasting diarrhea and shortness of breath. Patients may also develop swollen lymph nodes in the groin or neck, purple skin lesions that don't go away, and yeast infections in the throat or mouth. Weight loss, unexplained bleeding and easy bruising may also occur.
HIV is typically spread through unprotected sex and sharing needles with an infected individual, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex, and lack of circumcision increases risk of infection through heterosexual sex, states Mayo Clinic. Although there is no cure for HIV as of 2015, drugs can effectively control the virus.