Medical Definition of Infection, acute HIV

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Infection, acute HIV: The body's initial reaction to infection by the HIV virus. Acute HIV infection is a flu-like syndrome that occurs immediately after a person contracts HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus 1, the agent that causes AIDS). The syndrome is characterized by fever, sore throat, headache, skin rash and swollen glands (lymphadenopathy).

This syndrome precedes seroconversion -- the development of detectable antibodies to HIV in the blood as a result of the infection. It normally takes several weeks to several months for antibodies to the virus to develop after HIV transmission. When antibodies to HIV appear in the blood, a person will test positive in the standard ELISA test for HIV.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018