HIV is popular for being a silent killer, but if you are paying proper attention to your health, you will notice some early symptoms. As you already know, if you have intercourse on a regular basis, you might have been exposed to HIV, therefore it is important to get tested as soon as possible.
1. Phase 1: the acute infection: This phase lasts 2 to 8 weeks after the initial moment of infection. HIV replicates itself as quickly as possible in your body, even when your system is yet to start making antibodies against the virus. Within 7 days, your viral load will increase to one million or more virus particles.
2. Phase 2: recent infection: This phase comes after the acute infection and it will last for about 6 months when the initial infection is done. The flu-like symptoms mentioned above might also be prominent in this period.
3. Phase 3: latent/chronic HIV infection: The length of this phase is not the same for every patient. For some, it might last a full year, for others, it could be fifteen years. It all depends on how aggressive the virus is and how strong your immune system is.
4. Phase 4: AIDS: You only get diagnosed with AIDS when HIV has damaged your immune system to the point of you falling ill. When anyone reaches this stage, treatment is key and it might take a while before your immune system gets back to full strength, or it can lead to death.