Q. What are the most common symptoms of HIV ARS?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Zubayer Alam
and medically reviewed by Dr. K Shobana
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 29, 2021

Hi doctor,

I have a few query regarding HIV ARS symptoms and timelines.

1. What are the most common symptoms of HIV ARS?

2. How long does the symptoms usually last for?

3. How long after exposure do symptoms occur?

4. Can HIV ARS present itself with just one symptom?



Welcome to

Thanks for the query. I can understand your concern. According to your statement, you have some queries regarding HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) ARS (antiretroviral syndrome), symptoms, and timelines. The most common symptoms of HIV ARS are fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, night sweats, joint pain, rash, mouth ulcers, anorexia, chills, and many more. ARS symptoms may persist from a few days to a few weeks. ARS or acute retroviral syndrome may start to appear within two to six weeks after transmission of HIV infection.

ARS symptoms do not occur in every HIV-infected person, and these may occur in 25 to 90 % of people who have recently been infected with the HIV. As I have already mentioned that ARS symptoms which resemble influenza symptoms, do not occur in every HIV-infected person, and an HIV-infected person may suffer from only one or all symptoms of ARS. Take care. In case of any other query, ask me.

Thank you doctor,

How rare is a person experiencing only one symptom during HIV ARS? I tried researching the article, but I could not find a single documented case where ARS presented itself with just one symptom. Regarding the duration of the symptoms, many articles mentioned that it lasts atleast a week with two weeks median. Furthermore, I have also come across a few papers that mentioned the median seroconversion time of post-exposure is between one to three weeks, and in rare cases, it remains between four to six weeks. How accurate is it? I have come across many journals that have contradicting information. Can you kindly shed some light on it?



Welcome back to

Thanks for joining again. As I have already mentioned, 25 to 90% of people with HIV may suffer from the symptoms of HIV ARS. Among them, some people with HIV may suffer from only one symptom like Flu-like symptoms or diarrhea, and the others may suffer from more than one symptom of HIV ARS. The rest of the people with HIV infection may not notice any symptoms of HIV ARS. Approximately 80% of people with HIV may suffer from flu-like symptoms after being infected with HIV. Again, Flu-like symptoms may be a total of some symptoms. So, it is difficult to predict how many people with HIV infection can suffer from just one symptom of HIV ARS symptoms.

Seroconversion may occur roughly within three weeks to three months. The median window period for HIV infection is 31 days, indicating that half of the HIV-infected persons will be detected as HIV positive between 26 and 37 days after being infected with the HIV. Again, within two months of exposure, 99% of people with HIV infection may be detectable. Everything depends on how much body immunity is affected and its reactions to HIV. Take care. Let me know if I can assist you further.

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