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Early HIV Symptoms?
When the HIV virus first enters your body, you may experience a short ‘flu-like‘ illness.
This is known as the ‘seroconversion illness,’ and it occurs because your blood is being converted from HIV negative to HIV positive by the production of antibodies.
Everybody infected with HIV will seroconvert at some stage, but only about 80% of patients will notice any symptoms.
Seroconversion usually occurs 1 – 3 weeks after infection, but could take up to 6 months.
A rash is one of the early symptoms of HIV that usually occurs within the first two months after infection with the virus. Like other initial symptoms of HIV, it’s easy to mistake this rash for that of another viral infection. It’s therefore important to learn how to identify the rash and know how to treat it.
When you are first infected with HIV, you may experience a short ‘flu-like‘ illness as your immune system attempts to fight the virus.
If you notice any of these early signs:
♦ Sore throat
♦ Joint/ muscle pain
♦ Swollen glands
♦ Skin rash
and have recently put yourself at risk (either through unprotected sex or injecting drugs), you should get tested. You can order a HIV testing kit from our team of online doctors and learn your status within 2 days.
According to the UC San Diego Healthcare Clinic (UCSD), almost all people who have HIV infection (around 90 percent) experience skin symptoms and changes at some stage of the disease. A rash is the most common symptom of HIV; however, it is not always caused by HIV. Sometimes the rash is just due to sensitivity to sunlight and chemicals, or develops after use of some HIV medications.
What Should I Do If I Notice Symptoms?
If you do start noticing any of the early symptoms of HIV, and you have put yourself at risk of HIV infection then you need to get tested.
You need to wait for a sufficient number of antibodies to build up in your system for an accurate result. This takes about 1 – 3 months.
You can ask your doctor for a viral load test (which will detect any HIV circulating in your blood stream) but these are rarely used in HIV testing. These tests are very sensitive and have a tendency of showing up false-positives, so if you take the test and this happens to you, you will be referred for an HIV antibody test to confirm your status.
The 4th Generation (antigen/ antibody) test is the most commonly used HIV test used in the UK. It can give an accurate result from 4 weeks after exposure.
What to Look For Sign of HIV?
Whether caused by an HIV medication or by HIV itself, HIV rash typically appears as a red, flattened area on your skin, usually covered with small red bumps. A main symptom of the rash is itchiness. It can show up on any part of your body, but it most often occurs on the face and chest, and sometimes on the feet and hands. It can also cause mouth ulcers.