Monday, May 25, 2015

Acute HIV infection

Table of Contents

Alternative Names

Primary HIV infection; HIV seroconversion syndrome; Acute retroviral syndrome; HIV infection - acute


People with HIV infection need to be educated about the disease and its treatment so they can be active partners in making decisions with their health care provider.

There is still controversy about whether aggressive early treatment of HIV infection with anti-HIV medications (also called antiretroviral medications) will slow the long term progression of disease. You should discuss this option with your health care provider.

Follow these healthy practices in the early stages of HIV infection:

  • Avoid exposure to people with infectious illnesses.
  • Avoid settings and situations that could lead to depression. Maintain positive social contacts, hobbies, interests, and pets.
  • Eat a nutritious diet with enough calories.
  • Get enough exercise, but don't wear yourself out.
  • Keep stress to a minimum.
  • Practice safer sex. The disease is highly transmissible, especially in the first months after infection.

Support Groups

You can often reduce the stress of illness by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems. See AIDS - support group.

Expectations (prognosis)

There is no cure for HIV infection or AIDS. However, appropriate treatment can dramatically improve the length and quality of life for persons infected with HIV, and can delay the onset of AIDS.

The treatments for conditions that occur with early symptomatic HIV disease vary in effectiveness. Some infections and diseases are easier than others to treat with medications.

  • AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancers, typically Kaposi's sarcoma and lymphomas

Calling your health care provider

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have had a possible or actual exposure to AIDS or HIV infection, or if you are at risk and have had symptoms like those of acute HIV infection.

Review Date: 12/01/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (