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HIV Signs & Symptoms

Some people may develop a flu-like illness within a month after exposure to the HIV virus. But many people do not develop any symptoms at all when they first become infected. In addition, the symptoms that do appear, which usually disappear within a week to a month, are often mistaken for those of another viral infection. These may include:

  • Fever

  • Malaise

  • Enlarged lymph nodes

Persistent or severe symptoms may not surface for 10 years or more after HIV first enters the body in adults, or within 2 years in children born with an HIV infection. This “asymptomatic” period of the infection is highly variable from person to person. But, during the asymptomatic period, HIV is actively infecting and killing cells of the immune system. Its most obvious effect is a decline in the blood levels of CD4+ T cells a key immune system infection fighter. The virus initially disables or destroys these cells without causing symptoms.

As the immune system deteriorates, complications begin to surface. The following are the most common complications, or symptoms, of AIDS. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Some people develop frequent and severe herpes infections that cause mouth, genital, or anal sores, or a painful nerve disease known as shingles. Children may have delayed development or failure to thrive.

How Long Do You Have To Wait After Unprotected Sex To Take An Hiv Test

By | Oct. 14, 2010, 11:04 a.m.

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how long does it take after u have unprotected sex for u to get tested for hiv? can u get tested right away and know the results? or do u have to wait a certain amount of time.

HIV tests detect antibodies the immune systems response to infection. For the majority of people, HIV testing will be accurate at four to six weeks after possible infection. However, for some people it may take longer up to three months for detectable antibodies to develop. This is called the window period. During the window period, HIV tests can come back negative even though the person has the virus. HIV can be passed to other people during the window period. To make an appointment for HIV testing, contact your local Planned Parenthood health center. Tests are also available from most health care providers, hospitals, and health centers. Local, state, and federal health departments may offer free testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists HIV testing locations and offers information about home testing. The site can also be accessed in Spanish.

Tags: HIV/AIDS, HIV testing, STD testing

Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people worldwide. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. is a registered 501 nonprofit under EIN 13-1644147. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable under the law.

Stage : Acute Primary Infection

The early symptoms of HIV can feel like having the flu. Around one to four weeks after getting HIV, you may start to experience these flu-like symptoms. These normally dont last long . You may only get some of the symptoms and some people dont have any symptoms at all.

Symptoms can include:

  • joint aches and pains
  • muscle pain.

These symptoms happen because your body is reacting to the HIV virus. Cells that are infected with HIV are circulating throughout your blood system. In response, your immune system tries to attack the virus by producing HIV antibodies this process is called seroconversion. Timing varies but once you have HIV it can take your body up to a few months to go through the seroconversion process.

Having these symptoms alone does not mean you definitely have HIV. The only way to know if you have HIV is by taking a test. You should always visit your healthcare professional if youre worried about or think youve been at risk of getting HIV, even if you feel well and dont have any symptoms. They can then arrange for you to get tested.

HIV will not always show up in a test at this early stage, and you may need to test again later to confirm your result . Your healthcare professional will talk to you about the timing of your test and answer any concerns. Its important not delay speaking to a healthcare worker if you are worried about HIV.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv

No two people with HIV will have the same symptoms, and some may not have any at all. But the infection can cause some common changes over time.

In the first few weeks: These first, flu-like symptoms happen because your body is reacting to HIV. Your immune system is trying to fight it off. The symptoms at this stage can include:

  • Rash
  • Aches and pains in muscles and joints

Keep in mind that even if you have these symptoms, that doesnât automatically mean you are HIV-positive. Many different illnesses can cause these problems. Talk to a doctor or an HIV testing facility if you think you might be infected.

At this early stage of HIV infection, itâs important to know that you may not get accurate results from an HIV test. It can take 3-12 weeks for enough signs of the virus to show up on routine tests for the infection, which measure antibodies against HIV. A new kind of screening, called a nucleic acid test, can detect the virus itself during this early stage, but itâs expensive and not usually used for routine HIV testing.

Let the testing site or your doctor know if you think you might be recently infected. Also, be sure to use a condom every time you have sex, and take other steps to prevent spreading the virus.

After years with untreated HIV, youâre likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that your body is no longer strong enough to fight off. They can be a sign that your infection has gone from HIV to AIDS. You might have:

  • Weight loss

Days To 20 Years After Exposure

The Incubation Period of Common STDs

The chronic stage of infection occurs once the immune system brings the virus under control. During this phase, HIV will go into hiding, where it resides in various cells and tissues throughout the body in a dormant state known as latency. HIV latency can persist without symptoms for 10 years or more, although some people may experience signs within a year or two.

During the early chronic phase, lymphadenopathy may be the only notable sign of an HIV infection. In some cases, the glands may be visibly enlarged and reach up to an inch or more in size. If the condition persists for more than three months, its referred to as persistent generalized lymphadenopathy .

Even during latency, the virus will multiple imperceptibly and gradually deplete immune cells known as CD4 T-cells. As immune deficiency develops, a number of nonspecific symptoms are likely to appear, including:

  • Oral candidiasis , a fungal infection that causes the formation of creamy, white lesions on the sides of the tongue and lining of the mouth
  • Unexplained fevers and drenching night sweats that soak through bedsheets and nightclothes
  • Severe, uncontrolled diarrhea that lasts for more than three days

Each of these symptoms is commonly seen in persons with immune deficiency. They may, in some cases, be caused by HIV itself or by an infection that has yet to be diagnosed.

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How Do You Get Hiv

HIV infection can occur in the following ways:

  • Unprotected sexual intercourse, especially receptive anal intercourse
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections increase the HIV transmission risk by three times syphilis raises the transmission risk by seven times and genital herpes raises the infection risk by 25 times during an outbreak
  • Sharing IV needles or injections
  • Receiving HIV infected blood products
  • Needle-stick injuries
  • Maternal HIV infection : The risk of transmission can be reduced at birth by practices like cesarean delivery and prenatal antiretroviral therapy in the mother, and antiretroviral therapy in the newborn immediately after birth

Getting Your Hiv Test Results

Most HIV test results are available within a week.

If the test result is negative, you may receive your results within a few days.

If the initial test result is positive, then additional testing to confirm the result needs to be performed in a reference laboratory and this can take up to a week to get a result.

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Some Practices Dont Reduce Your Risk Of Hiv

Some people use unreliable methods to reduce their risk of HIV. These include:

  • Serosorting choosing your sexual partner based upon them having the same HIV status as you.
  • Strategic positioning where an HIV-negative partner penetrates an HIV-positive partner.
  • Withdrawal when the insertive partner pulls out before ejaculating .

None of these strategies are reliable, so you are at risk of HIV transmission.Having sex only with people who have the same HIV status can be very risky. For example, a person may think they are HIV-negative, but may have been exposed to HIV since their last test, or may never have been tested at all.

Using a combination of proven, reliable strategies like condoms, PrEP, and undetectable viral load is the best way to prevent HIV transmission.

Favorite Hiv Home Testing Resources

Aging With HIV And Saving Others | TODAY ORIGINALS

Need to take an STD test, but dont want to leave your home? myLab Box offers kits that screen for STDs like HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, and more. Depending on the test, youll mail in a small sample of urine, a vaginal swab, or a prick of blood, and youll get your results in one to five days.

Testing couldnt be any more convenient. This in-home HIV test is approved by the FDA and doesnt require sending a sample to a lab. You can test yourself in the privacy of your own home with an oral swab. The kit gives you a result in 20 to 40 minutes.

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Hiv Testing And Your Rights

Testing for HIV is voluntary and can only be done with your informed consent, except in exceptional circumstances.

Before you are tested, you will be provided with information about what is involved. what the results might mean for you, and how to prevent HIV transmission in the future. All people who request an HIV test must receive this information from the test provider.

Under Australian and Victorian law, it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone who has HIV. Test results, and details on whether someone has been tested are strictly confidential. It is illegal for any information about a person being tested or a person with HIV to be disclosed without their permission.

To 14 Days After Exposure

Known as acute retroviral syndrome, or ARS, the acute stage occurs immediately after being infected, when the immune system has yet to control the virus. During this time, an estimated 40 percent to 90 percent of people will experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, whereas the rest wont experience any symptoms at all.

Although these signs typically appear within 7 to 14 days of exposure, they can also crop up as early as 3 days. Around 30 percent of people with ARS will develop a maculopapular rash of pink to red bumps, usually on the upper half of the body. The rash will gradually converge into larger, raised hives.

Other common ARS symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea

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Stage : Clinical Latency

In this stage, the virus still multiplies, but at very low levels. People in this stage may not feel sick or have any symptoms. This stage is also called chronic HIV infection.

Without HIV treatment, people can stay in this stage for 10 or 15 years, but some move through this stage faster.

If you take HIV medicine every day, exactly as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can protect your health and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to your sexual partner.

But if your viral load is detectable, you can transmit HIV during this stage, even when you have no symptoms. Its important to see your health care provider regularly to get your viral load checked.

What Is Acute Hiv Infection

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There are three stages of HIV infection:

  • Stage 1:Acute HIVinfection
  • Stage 2:Chronic HIV infection
  • Stage 3:AIDS

Acute HIV infection is the first stage of the infection. Usually within two to four weeks of infection, two-thirds of those with HIV will experience flu-like symptoms. These symptoms may last for several days or even weeks. However, some people may experience no symptoms at all.

In this stage, there is a large amount of HIV in your blood, which is known as the viral load. Studies have noted incredibly high viral loads during the acute stage, meaning you are more contagious at this time.

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Common Questions & Answers

HIV is an abbreviation that stands for human immunodeficiency virus. If you are HIV positive it means that an HIV test has detected the presence of the virus in your body. HIV attacks your body’s immune system.

AIDS is an acronym that stands for the disease caused by HIV, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is a late stage of infection in which the HIV virus has actively damaged the immune system.

Routes Of Hiv Transmission

In Scotland, HIV is most commonly transmitted by having sex with someone who has HIV without using any form of protection, such as HIV PrEP or condoms.

A person with HIV can only pass the virus to others if they have a detectable level of virus. People living with HIV who are taking treatment and have undetectable levels of virus in their bodies can’t transmit HIV to others.

Over 90% of people living with HIV in Scotland have undetectable levels of virus.

The main routes of transmission are unprotected receptive or insertive vaginal and anal sex. The risk of transmitting HIV through oral sex is extremely low.

Other ways of getting HIV include:

  • sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
  • from mother to baby before or during birth when the mother isn’t taking HIV medication
  • from mother to baby by breastfeeding when the mother isn’t taking HIV medication
  • sharing sex toys with someone infected with HIV and who isn’t taking HIV medication
  • blood transfusion

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Aids

    Having an infection with the HIV virus does not automatically mean that the patient has AIDS. As the HIV virus infects more and more CD4 cells and makes more copies of itself, the patients immune system gets overwhelmed and begins to falter. When the immune system breaks down due to HIV infection, opportunistic infections like fungal infections, pneumonias, and cancers can occur. When this level of HIV infection occurs, it is called AIDS .

    Some of the signs and symptoms of progression of HIV to AIDS are:

    What Are The 3 Stages Of Hiv When Does Hiv Infection Transition To Aids

    Real Question: How Long Does it Take to Test Positive for HIV?

    There are 3 stages of HIV infection.

    • Stage 1: Flu-like symptoms after initial HIV infection
    • Stage 2: Clinically latency may last for 10 or more years in some individuals
    • Stage 3: After HIV reactivation and/or HIVs progressive attack on the immune system, the damaged immune system has a reduced or an inability to protect the individual from serious infections and other illnesses. This stage is termed AIDS. In this stage, lab testing reveals high viral loads and CD4 counts < 200 cells/mm3.

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    Hiv Testing After A Recent Infection

    If you are concerned about a possible recent HIV infection, you should take an HIV test. If this test result is non-reactive or negative, it can be repeated in a few weeks to be sure. Not everyone has symptoms after a recent infection and thus testing is the only reliable way to know whether you have HIV.

    If you might have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours, you and your doctor should also discuss whether post-exposure prophylaxis is appropriate in your case. PEP is taken in order to prevent HIV from taking hold and to remain HIV negative.

    The most accurate tests for HIV diagnosis after recent infection are antigen/antibody laboratory tests . An HIV antigen is part of the virus itself and is present in high levels in the blood between HIV infection and seroconversion. During seroconversion, HIV antibodies are produced by the body in response to infection and they persist for life.

    “Symptomatic seroconversion illness occurs in at least 50%, and possibly as many as 80 or 90%, of infected individuals.”

    HIV antigen/antibody tests will detect the majority of those infected with HIV within four weeks of infection but can sometimes detect infections as early as ten days afterward. While they are extremely accurate, they require blood to be drawn with a needle and results are not available immediately. These tests tend to be offered in hospital settings or for confirmatory purposes.

    Symptoms Specific To Men

    It’s important to note that these male-specific symptoms can also be signs of other conditions. If you have any of these, make sure to speak with your doctor.

    Low sex drive. This is a sign of hypogonadism, which means your testicles donât make enough of the sex hormone testosterone. This condition is tied to HIV.Hypogonadism can also cause:

    Sores on the penis. A common sign of HIV is painful open sores, or ulcers on your mouth or esophagus. They can also appear on your anus or penis. These sores often keep coming back.

    Pain or burning while peeing. In most cases, this is a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection like gonorrhea or chlamydia. It may signal swelling of the prostate, a small gland beneath the bladder. This condition is called prostatitis. Itâs sometimes caused by a bacterial infection.

    Other symptoms of prostatitis include:

    • Pain during ejaculation
    • Peeing more often than usual
    • Cloudy or bloody pee
    • Pain in the bladder, testicles, penis, or the area between the scrotum and rectum
    • Lower back, abdomen, or groin pain

    If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, see a doctor right away. If itâs been 72 hours or less, you can take something called post-exposure prophylaxis . You take HIV medicine once or twice a day for 28 days that may keep you from getting HIV.

    If you have been exposed to HIV, there are other symptoms that aren’t exclusive to men but are important to keep an eye on.

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