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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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What Happens After HIV Infection?

Days to weeks after exposure, the patient may begin to complain of fever, headache, and fatigue. This may also be accompanied by a rash.
For the first several months after the infection, the exposed individual may be HIV-antibody negative and the disease may not be detected. However, the individual is still infective and can transmit the disease during this period.
The disease may remain silent in the patient for months to years, even with no treatment.
When the immune system is weakened enough, the patient will develop opportunistic infections and be classified as having acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).