Night sweats and HIV symptoms tend to occur more frequently in people who have the virus plus a secondary infection, such as tuberculosis or Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP). Other frequently associated symptoms of HIV may also be due to an underlying infection or disease. A person might not experience night sweats or other related symptoms for several years after an initial HIV infection, but most people with the virus do experience them at some point during their infection.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus attacks the immune system, weakening it seriously and placing the infected person at significant risk of developing a secondary opportunistic infection. Such infections may not represent a serious threat to otherwise healthy individuals, but these infections can become life-threatening to an individual with the virus.
Before a person starts developing symptoms of an illness, he may have no idea that he is infected with the virus. This is because HIV can lie dormant in an individual’s body for as many as 10 years following an original infection. Usually, by the time an individual begins experiencing night sweats and other symptoms, another infection has invaded the body.
While all diseases and viral infections are dangerous to a person with HIV, tuberculosis has become one of the most serious. The symptoms of this bacterial infection include fever, cough, fatigue and unintended weight loss. Individuals with a cough caused by this illness often cough up a lot of mucus and, at times, may even produce blood. Night sweats are a classic symptom of this illness, and there is a high rate of tuberculosis infections among individuals with HIV.
Pneumocystis pneumonia is of grave concern to people with HIV infection. This type of pneumonia is actually quite common, but it does not usually cause major complications in healthy individuals. In HIV infected persons, however, PCP is one of the most life-threatening infections they can face. Its symptoms include unintended weight loss, dry cough, breathing difficulties, night sweats, and HIV symptoms such as diarrhea, tongue blemishes, and swollen lymph glands.
Night sweats and HIV symptoms do not necessarily show up during the early phases of the infection. Some patients may live for several years without any signs associated with the virus or with any other secondary infection. For the majority of people recently infected by HIV, however, flu-like symptoms will begin to surface shortly after becoming infected.