What Are Signs of HIV?

The signs and symptoms of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, occur in three distinct stages and include aching muscles, fatigue and a red rash on the torso in the first stage, according to WebMD. The second stage can include an absence of symptoms for up to 10 years, while the third stage causes symptoms and signs such as unexplained weight loss, swollen lymph nodes and purple-colored spots on the skin.

During the primary infection stage of HIV, individuals can develop symptoms such as fever, headache and a sore throat, as listed by Mayo Clinic. During this stage, the virus floods the system, and it spreads particularly well during this time period. Clinical latent infection is the second stage, and people taking antiretroviral medications can stay in this phase for decades. The third phase can involve symptoms such as oral yeast infections, chronic diarrhea and white spots that develop on the tongue.

HIV causes a life threatening condition known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, according to Mayo Clinic. HIV damages the immune system so severely that it impairs the body’s ability to fight disease. Even without medication, it can take years for HIV to develop into AIDS, but taking medication can dramatically slow the progression of the disease.