HIV infection happens in 3 stages. At the first stage, when the infection just enters the body, the immune system puts up a fight. At this stage, also known as the Primary HIV infection stage, the patient may have some symptoms.
The First Stage
The first signs of HIV infection exhibited by a patient could be nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, fever and red rashes on the body that don’t itch. As the immune system puts up a fight, you may experience these symptoms, but not every patient experiences these symptoms. Moreover, these first signs of HIV infection are more like ordinary flu. These symptoms are likely to subside within a week or so. Nevertheless, you should get an HIV screening if you are exposed to the factors responsible for the infection.
The Second Stage
By the start of the second phase, the virus defeats the immune system and starts anchoring itself in the body. As the immune system loses the battle, the first signs of HIV infection usually vanish. After this stage, there may be a long hiatus in symptoms. The HIV symptom timeline extends over a long period of about 10 years from this point. Within this period the virus destroys the CD4T cells and damages the immune system slowly. The normal CD4-T cell count is between 450 and 1400. This count drops to below 200 as the virus continues to destroy these cells. As the cell count drops you may become exposed to various infections as immunity drops. However, even at this stage, you can fight the virus with a combination of drugs. These drugs may help to contain the damage and even rebuild the immune system to some extent.
The Third Stage
The third stage is the most advanced stage of HIV infection. At this stage, your CD4-T cell count would probably go down below 200. You are very likely to have symptoms such as tiredness, swollen lymph nodes, a fever that refuses to go down, weight loss, shortness of breath, severe diarrhea, yeast infections in various places such as the throat, mouth and vagina, unexplained bruises and bleeding etc.