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Early symptomatic HIV infection

  • Alternative Names

    AIDS-related complex - ARC; Chronic symptomatic HIV infection


    Medications can successfully treat many of the symptoms of early symptomatic HIV infection.

    Antiretroviral therapy slows the growth of the HIV virus in the body. A combination of several antiretroviral medications, termed highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), work well in reducing the number of HIV particles in the bloodstream, and as a result, increasing the CD4 count.

    Although people taking HAART have suppressed levels of HIV, they can still spread the virus to others through sex or sharing needles. HAART is not a cure for HIV, but the treatment slows disease progression and usually strengthens the immune system.

    Support Groups

    For more information and resources, see AIDS support group.

    Expectations (prognosis)

    There is no cure for HIV infection or AIDS. However, antiretroviral therapy and HAART can dramatically improve the length and quality of life for people 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 disease processes are easier than others to treat with medications.


    Advanced HIV disease (AIDS) can develop, in which opportunistic infections and cancers (malignancies) can occur.

    People infected with HIV can spread the disease to other people. Pregnant women can transmit HIV to their unborn baby.

    Calling your health care provider

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of chronic symptomatic HIV infection.

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have chronic symptomatic HIV infection and develop new symptoms.