Common Symptoms of HIV Seroconversion

Seroconversion is the first stage of HIV disease which an HIV-positive person has enough antibodies to the virus in their system that a standard screening tests will be able to detect them. This point is significant in detection a diagnosis of HIV infection.

Symptoms are caused by the body’s immune response to the infection. Seroconversion refers to the development of antibodies that patient always experience flu-like symptoms and occur shortly after infection.

Flu-like symptoms include fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, headache along with aches and pains, digestive troubles and skin rash. The immune system will begin to respond to the infection by producing antibodies to the virus.

Unfortunately, it is the cells of the immune system that are the target of HIV. HIV disease enters a long asymptomatic stage after the symptoms clear. There are no symptoms during this stage which lasts for about 10 years.

Once a large enough number of antibodies to HIV has developed within a person’s system that they will occur on a screening test, that individual is said to have seroconverted. An HIV test is necessary to diagnose HIV infection because of the non-specific symptoms.

Most people develop a diagnostically significant level of HIV antibodies within a month after infection while small number of people report that the process at times takes up to 6 months. This illness basically occurs within two to four weeks after an individual contracts HIV.

Tests of blood and oral fluids are most commonly used to diagnose for the presence of HIV seroconvention antibodies. Other tests, which screen for the genetic code (RNA) of the virus directly are not related and can detect infection before it occurs.

Because the diagnose can take up to 6 months, screening tests undergone within this illness after a possible infection may return a false negative. The symptoms of this illness are similar to those of other viral infections.