Depending on the phase
of HIV, symptoms
can vary. The first stage of HIV is known as acute or primary HIV infection
. It’s also called acute retroviral syndrome. During this stage, most people experience common flu-like symptoms that may be hard to distinguish from a gastrointestinal or respiratory infection. The next phase is the clinical latency stage. The virus becomes less active, though it’s still in the body. During this stage, people experience no symptoms while the viral infection progresses at very low levels. This period of latency can last a decade or longer. Many people show no symptoms of HIV during this entire 10-year period
. The final phase of HIV is stage 3. During this phase, the immune system is severely damaged and is vulnerable to opportunistic infections
. Once HIV progresses into stage 3, symptoms associated with infections may become apparent. These symptoms can include:
Symptoms associated with HIV itself, such as cognitive impairment, can also become apparent.