HIV is the acronym for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus – the virus that causes AIDS. While AIDS and HIV are related, they are separate diseases with different sets of symptoms. With HIV, early symptoms usually develop within two to four weeks of exposure to the virus. HIV has a long incubation period and people can be infected with HIV for years before developing full-blown AIDS.
Early symptoms of HIV tend to mimic those of other viruses and, for this reason, it is often easily ignored. The most common early symptoms are: persistent low-grade fever, swollen glands, sore throat and rash.
Persistent Low-Grade Fever
When a viral pathogen enters the body, one of the responses is to raise body temperature in order to weaken the virus, making it easier to kill. With HIV the body is unable to kill the virus so the fever persists.
The HIV virus reproduces in the lymph nodes. This causes the nodes to swell as the viral load increases.
The sore throat may be due to the swelling in the lymph nodes or from general inflammation of the mucous membranes in the throat.
The HIV rash can appear anywhere on the body (including the palms of the hands and soles of the feet). It usually appears as raised or flat lesions.