HIV Symptom Free Period Becoming infected with HIV and becoming sick from AIDS are two different events. For most people, it takes many years from the time someone is infected with HIV to the time that they develop symptoms of AIDS. Some people get sick sooner and others stay well longer, especially with treatment. However, there is almost always a significant period of time after infection when an HIV-positive individual will have no symptoms at all -- often 10 years or more.
Keeping in mind the two separate events (becoming HIV-infected vs. actually developing AIDS) can help you to remember that there are also two separate time periods when someone may show symptoms related to HIV-infection.