Unsure of possiblity of having HIV due to rapid symptoms


Q: I am unsure of if I could have HIV. I had protected sex with a lady on Friday night and did not shower until the following morning. On sunday night I began to have swollen lymph nodes. Early monday morning i developed a fever, chills, muscle aches and a sore throat. Thats only 2 days later. I read that its impossible to develop symptoms that quick but just wanted some reassurance since its uncommon to get the flu in August.


A:   The initial symptoms of HIV infection can be very unspecific as: fever, fatigue, night sweats, rash, swollen nodes, sore throat, headache, oral ulcers. Infection is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The following factors are associated with an increased risk of acquiring HIV infection: Unprotected sex, receptive anal intercourse carries a particularly high risk, injection drug use (sharing needles or drug paraphernalia), occupational needle stick or body fluid splash (estimated transmission rate <0.3%), contaminated blood products (before 1985 in the United States). In your particular case, if you are not sure about the HIV status of your partner or if you are feeling very stress out and worried, it is strongly recommended that you get tested. There is a test that can be done without using a needle. This test, called the OraQuick Rapid HIV Test for Oral Fluid, gives results in 20 minutes using saliva. This test can detect only HIV type 1 (HIV-1) antibodies. Testing for HIV is a two-step process: first, an inexpensive screening test (blood) or oral (saliva) is done. If that test is positive, a second test (Western blot) is done to confirm the result. In case of doubt, worry or if you are unsure, the answer is always the same: get tested.  Also, a negative test result does not mean you are immune to HIV, always keep in mind that engaging in risky behaviors (having unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person or sharing needles or syringes with an infected person) can transmit HIV.

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