At least 60% of patients acutely infected with HIV will experience at least some symptoms of the acute retroviral syndrome. Acute HIV infection is often not recognized in the primary care setting because of the similarity of the symptoms with those of other common diseases or flu.
Physicians should maintain a high level of suspicion especially where there are known or established recent high risk factors.
It is still controversial whether there are any benefits of antiretroviral therapy at this early stage, but most clinicians would offer treatment during this acute attack.
Symptoms one could look for include:
Erythematous maculopapular rash with lesions on face and trunk and sometimes extremities including palm and soles.
Mucocutaneous ulceration involving mouth, oesophagus or genitals.
Myalgia or arthralgia (54%)
Nausea and vomiting (27%)
Weight loss (13%)
Neurologic symptoms (12%)
Meningoencephalitis or aseptic meningitis
Peripheral neuropathy or radiculopathy
Cognitive impairment or psychosis