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Asymptomatic HIV infection

Asymptomatic HIV infection is the second stage of HIV/AIDS. During this stage, there are no symptoms of HIV infection. This stage is also called chronic HIV infection or clinical latency.

During this stage, the virus keeps multiplying in the body and the immune system slowly weakens, but the person has no symptoms. How long this stage lasts depends on how quickly the HIV virus copies itself, and how the person's genes affect the way the body handles the virus.

Untreated, some people can go 10 years or longer without symptoms. Others may have symptoms and worsening immune function within a few years after the original infection.

References

Reitz MS, Gallo RC. Human immunodeficiency viruses. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 171.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. AIDS info website. HIV overview: the stages of HIV infection. aidsinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv-aids/fact-sheets/19/46/the-stages-of-hiv-infection. Updated June 25, 2019. Accessed August 22, 2019.

Review Date 5/10/2019

Updated by: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 08/22/2019.