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Within a month or two of HIV entering the body, 40% to 90% of people experience flulike symptoms known as acute retroviral syndrome (ARS).
"At this point the virus is moving into the blood stream and starting to replicate in large numbers," says Carlos Malvestutto, MD, instructor of infectious diseases and immunology in the department of medicine at NYU School of Medicine in New York City."In the early stages of HIV infection, the most common symptoms are none," says Michael Horberg, MD, director of HIV/AIDS for Kaiser Permanente, in Oakland, Calif.One in five people in the United States with HIV doesn't know they have it, which is why it's so important to get tested, especially if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner or use intravenous drugs. One of the first signs of ARS can be a mild fever, up to about 102 degrees F.(It can take a few weeks to a few monthsfor HIV antibodies to show in a blood test).Investigate other test options such as one that detects viral RNA, typically within nine days of infection.