Early HIV Symptoms to Watch For
It’s a good idea for everyone to become familiar with the early symptoms of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). With that said, an HIV infection cannot be diagnosed based on its symptoms alone. The only way to know for sure whether you are infected is to be tested for specific antibodies, which are proteins produced naturally by the body in response to the presence of the virus.
HIV is highly infectious and easily spread to others through blood and sexual contact. As the virus replicates, it can destroy essential immune cells and make it harder for the body to fight off infections. For these reasons, it is important to be able to recognize the early signs of HIV so that you can be promptly tested and treated, if necessary.
Within a few weeks after HIV infection, some people experience flu-like symptoms, including:
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
- Skin rash
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
HIV symptoms can last for a few days or a few weeks, after which the condition is usually asymptomatic until it progresses to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Of course, these symptoms can result from many other conditions as well, so they are not conclusive signs of HIV. Furthermore, some people who are infected with HIV look and feel completely healthy and may not experience symptoms for up to 10 years. Therefore, if you think you were exposed to HIV through unprotected sex or shared needles and could be in the early stages of HIV infection, you are encouraged to get an HIV test as soon as possible.
At South Tampa Immediate Care in Tampa, FL, you can receive a discreet HIV test in a comfortable and professional environment. We can also answer your questions and help you explore HIV-prevention options. Additionally, you do not need an appointment to see a physician at our walk-in clinic.