The symptoms of HIV usually begin to appear within the first month or two of contracting the virus. At least 40-90% of all people report that the first symptoms often appear like the common flu. These early symptoms are called acute retroviral syndrome or (ARS). But there are those who may bypass the ARS stages of the virus and signs of the virus may not appear for years, sometimes even a decade later. However, research has shown that the earlier you detect the virus the better your chance of responding to treatment. So it pays to know what indicators there are that you may have contracted HIV. Here are 10 signs you may have HIV so you know when to get tested.

The Early Stages:

In the very early stages of the virus there are no symptoms or signs to report. At least one out of every five people report that they had no idea they had the virus so if you've been practicing unprotected sex with more than one partner or have been using intravenous drugs get tested anyway, even if you see no change in your health.

1.) Fever

One of the first indications of ARS is a mild fever that can go as high as 102F. This is a sign that the virus has entered the bloodstream and is beginning to replicate in large numbers.

2.) Fatigue

As inflammation begins to develop in the body you'll experience signs of fatigue. You'll feel lethargic and get exhausted very easily.

3.) Achy Muscles And Joints

Your body will begin to ache very much like the flu. You'll feel pain in the joints and your lymph nodes in your armpits, groin, and neck will begin to swell. This is an indication that your immune system has been compromised.

4.) Sore Throat And Headache

Sore throat and headache can be pretty common symptoms in the early stages of the disease. In fact, of the 10 signs you may have HIV, this is probably the most common.

5.) Skin Rashes

These can occur very early on in the infection or it may only occur later. They appear like boils with itchy pink areas and can be found on the arms or the trunk of the body.

6.) Nausea, Vomiting, And Diarrhea

Short-term nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea often appear in the early stages of the disease. They can also appear later as a result of infection.

7.) Weight Loss

Once the virus starts to advance, there will be a period of weight loss. This means that the immune system is pretty much depleted. This usually occurs in the later stages of the disease.

8.) Pneumonia

A continuous cough and the weight loss are indications of serious infection, which will naturally lead to pneumonia. You might see other infections develop as well.

9.) Night Sweats

Like hot flashes, night sweats for no apparent reason will also appear.

10.) Changes In Your Fingernails And Toenails

Look for a thickening or curving of the nails, splitting, or discoloration. This is often as a result of a fungal infection that the immune system cannot fight off.

If you notice any of these 10 signs you may have HIV, it is important to get tested as soon as possible. However, keep in mind that signs may not appear for months and even years, so don't look for symptoms to be your only guide. Use good judgment, especially if you've engaged in high-risk behavior at any time.