The earliest symptoms of HIV in women are usually mild flu-like symptoms, such as fever, tiredness and headache, according to Healthline. Swollen lymph nodes are also common early in the infection, although many women have no symptoms at all for quite a number of years.
Other early signs of HIV in women include a skin rash, states STD Test Express. The rash is typically present on the chest, back, face arms or legs and usually does not appear on the hands. Additionally, women with early-stage HIV sometimes experience night sweats, muscle aches, joint pain, a sore throat, or nausea and vomiting.
As HIV progresses, many women develop infections, including pneumonia, tuberculosis and hepatitis C, explains Healthline. Known as opportunistic infections, these occur because the immune system has become less effective at fighting germs. Infections of the eyes, lungs, kidneys and brain are common in people with HIV.
Changes in menstruation, including irregular periods and absent periods, are also common in women with HIV, states Healthline. They are also more prone to yeast infections and sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer. There is also a higher incidence of pelvic inflammatory disease in women with HIV.
As the disease becomes more advanced, many early symptoms become more severe, explains Healthline. Women often suffer from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss, as well as severe headaches, muscle aches and joint pain. Sore throat, difficulty swallowing and a chronic cough are common as well.