Characterization of the acute clinical illness associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection

Arch Intern Med. 1988 Apr;148(4):945-9.


The clinical and serologic features and immune status of 39 homosexual men who had seroconversion to human immunodeficiency virus positivity were compared with 26 homosexual men who remained seronegative during a six-month period. An acute clinical illness occurred in 92.3% of seroconverted subjects and 40% of controls. The duration of illness was significantly greater in the seroconverters than the controls (10 + 4.4 days). A general practitioner was consulted by 87.2% of the seroconverters because of the illness, including 12.8% who were admitted to hospital, compared with 20% of controls. The most frequently reported symptoms in the seroconversion group were fever (76.9%); lethargy and malaise (66.7%); anorexia, sore throat, and myalgias (56.4% each); headaches and arthralgias (48.7% each); weight loss (46.2%); swollen glands (43.5%); retro-orbital pain (38.5%); and dehydration and nausea (30.8% each). Lymphadenopathy developed in 75% of seroconverters compared with 4% of controls. Changes in T-cell subsets were not found in controls, but the number of T4+ cells and the T4+/T8+ ratio decreased significantly in seroconverters.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • HIV Antibodies
  • HIV Seropositivity / immunology*
  • Homosexuality*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Serologic Tests
  • T-Lymphocytes / classification
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • HIV Antibodies