Most people will only go through one symptomatic stage of HIV-disease within the first five years of infection, after which time the virus enters its long latent stage. One exception is among children, in whom the disease progresses more quickly than in adults.
Acute HIV Infection
According to AIDS-clinical-care.jwatch.org, some people experience a flu-like illness within the first month of infection that lasts for about two weeks. Symptoms, according to HIV-symptoms.info, include swollen lymph nodes, head and muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea, skin rash, and fatigue.
After acute HIV infection, the virus enters its long latent stage, during which there are no symptoms. As this stage lasts on average for ten years, most HIV-positive adults have no symptoms 2-5 years after infection.
HIV in Children
On average, the only HIV-positive people who might experience symptoms within 2-5 years after infection are children. Children can contract HIV from their mother during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
20 percent of HIV-positive children become seriously ill within the first year, and most of these die before the age of four, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). Symptoms include stunted growth, both physical and mental, encephalopathy, bacterial infections, lymphocytic interstitial pneumonitis, thrush, and chronic diarrhea (NIAID).
The NIAID reports that 80 percent of HIV-positive children do not develop symptoms during the first 2-5 years after infection. These children commonly develop symptoms only during their school years or even as adolescents.