|Weight loss and Night Sweats
Nov 13, 1998
Could you please tell me how early in the course of infection weight loss is generally seen?
| Response from Mr. Sowadsky
Thank you for your question.
Weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS does not usually occur until literally years after infection. When weight loss is associated with HIV/AIDS, we are not talking about just a few pounds. We are talking about a significant amount of weight loss in a very short amount of time that is unexplained by other causes. For example, if a person loses 10-20 pounds (approximately 4.5 to 9 kilograms) in a month, and there is nothing to explain this weight loss, this could be related to HIV/AIDS. But, this could also be due to things totally unrelated to HIV/AIDS (for example, a significant change in diet or physical activity, other illnesses, etc.). If you are experiencing a significant amount of weight loss in a very short period of time that is unexplained, then you should talk to your doctor to determine the cause. But remember, you CANNOT assume the cause is HIV/AIDS until you see your doctor and have lab tests done.
On a related matter, many people are fearful that they have HIV, because they are sweating at night (night sweats). When sweating is associated with HIV/AIDS, we are not talking about just feeling damp or mild sweating. We are generally talking about a drenching sweat, often severe enough that you would have to change your clothes (or bed sheets). However, drenching sweats can also be due to causes other than HIV/AIDS. If you are experiencing drenching sweats (especially if they are recurrent), then you should talk to your doctor to determine the cause. Remember, you CANNOT assume the cause is HIV/AIDS until you see your doctor and have lab tests done.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).
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