The symptoms of HIV and AIDS vary based on the progression of the disease. For many people, the first sign of infection comes in the form of a flu-like illness. The name of this illness is primary HIV infection, and it can last for a few weeks, according to Mayo Clinic.
The symptoms of primary HIV infection include swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, sore throat and joint pain. Despite the symptoms being mild, the illness is at its peak during this time, and it can easily be transmitted to others, explains Mayo Clinic. During clinical latent infection, the disease can manifest as swollen lymph nodes with few or no other symptoms. This period of the infection can last from eight to 10 years. There is no guarantee as some people may succumb to a more advanced illness quicker than others.
As the virus continues to multiply, many symptoms present. These include conditions such as fever, fatigue, diarrhea, weight loss and shortness of breath. This happens because the immune system cells are being destroyed by the virus causing HIV, notes Mayo Clinic. After about a decade, and provided there is no treatment, HIV typically progresses to AIDS. The immune system is very compromised at this point, and many illnesses and infections that would not hurt a healthy person can make someone with AIDS very ill. Symptoms of these illnesses are shaking chills or fevers, white spots or lesions on the tongue, extreme night sweats and uncontrollable diarrhea.