Acute retroviral syndrome

Acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) is the first stage of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Symptoms of acute retroviral syndrome are similar to the flu (such as headache, nausea, diarrhea, and body aches) and disappear on their own within weeks.

Even though symptoms of acute retroviral syndrome may disappear, a person is still infected with HIV and can spread the infection. Although there currently is no cure for HIV infection, a combination of medicines called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) helps prolong life for most people.

Last Updated: April 10, 2009

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine

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