Acute HIV infection refers to the early stage of HIV infection, which occurs in the first few weeks after a person is infected with the virus. During this stage, the virus replicates rapidly and spreads throughout the body, which can lead to a variety of symptoms and potential complications.
Symptoms of acute HIV infection can vary, but may include flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash. Some people may also experience gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. In some cases, acute HIV infection can also cause neurological symptoms, such as headaches or confusion.
Diagnosis of acute HIV infection typically involves a combination of clinical symptoms, laboratory tests, and medical history. Blood tests can detect antibodies to HIV or the virus itself, and may be repeated over time to confirm a diagnosis.
Treatment for acute HIV infection typically involves antiretroviral therapy (ART), which can help to suppress the virus and prevent it from causing further damage to the immune system. Early initiation of ART has been shown to be particularly effective at reducing the risk of HIV progression and transmission to others.
With appropriate treatment, most people with acute HIV infection can achieve viral suppression and maintain good health. However, if left untreated, HIV can progress to more advanced stages of the disease, which can lead to severe complications and an increased risk of transmission to others. Therefore, it is important for anyone who suspects they may have been exposed to HIV to get tested and seek medical care promptly.