The course of HIV infection and the importance of HIV indicator conditions shortly after contracting HIV, people often suffer from flu-like symptoms. Fever, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes are common. Therefore, these symptoms are sometimes wrongly attributed to Pfeiffer's disease. This condition that is caused by HIV is called 'retroviral syndrome'. It is the indicator condition that points to the 'acute' HIV period: the first six months after someone has contracted the HIV.
It is advisable to get tested for HIV if you were at risk of HIV infection in the six months before these symptoms arise. These symptoms of fever, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes will pass of their own accord and people often feel fine again. People can live for months to years without knowing that they have an HIV infection and without developing AIDS. During this period, HIV can be transmitted to others. However, this period is not completely without symptoms or conditions suggestive for HIV. We know that people often visit a doctor for these symptoms. During these visits to the doctor, no HIV test is done.
In retrospect, these conditions appear to be in line with an HIV infection that was already present at the time. These signs and symptoms are also referred to as HIV indicator conditions.