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What are the symptoms and signs of HIV infection?

Answered by
Dr. Sandip Kabra

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 3078 Questions

Posted on Fri, 30 Oct 2015 in HIV and AIDS
Question: Hi im not sure of i been at risk for hiv but my ex partner had alot of partners in his past, a little background ive taken 1 blood hiv test before we slept together and it was negative he took one 4 months into us sleeping together. Ive taken 3 home hiv test in the past 8 months and all came out negative. Now ive been having some weird symptoms that i normally dont get.
Headaches that last all day
Canker sores inside my bottom lip not painful and small.
A itchy cough that has lasted 4 days
My last home hiv test was last week.

Now my questions are :
1.When does an hiv positive person develop the dry cough and is it itchy ?

2. How effecient are the oraquick hiv home testing test?

3. If i was hiv positive and im having symptoms would my test come out negative?
Answered by Dr. Sandip Kabra 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Will answer one by one.

Detailed Answer:
Welcome to health care magic,

I have read your query and will answer you one by one.

1) Dry cough will be seen in acute HIV infection.

For your information,HIV symptoms are classified into 3 stages. If the person is infected with HIV, he will go through these stages.

1. The first stage of acute infection will lasts for 6 to 8 weeks.
Here one would have flu like symptoms - fever, headache, body aches, dry cough, joint pains, weakness, low appetite, nausea, rashes, altered bowel habits etc.

One would experience a waxing - weaning type of symptoms, means you develop symptoms and it resolves to recur again. The number of such cycles is not clearly defined.

The second stage is an asymptomatic phase where one will not have any symptoms which may last for months to years.

The third stage is chronic infection or stage of opportunistic infections but nowadays it quite uncommon with anti retro-viral treatment.

2) Ora quick HIV home test is a recent rapid diagnostic test to detect HIV infection.

It acts by detecting antibodies present in oral cavity in saliva. The test might give false positive results, hence it has to be confirmed by specific blood tests.

Ora quick test is for those who are reluctant to go for blood tests or those who cannot go to laboratory. It is a rapid and ready diagnostic tool but the sensitivity is only 90 to 95 % hence the positive results have to be confirmed by blood tests.

3) If your were HIV positive with symptoms,then it is quite uncommon that the test result may come out Negative.

Also it depends on which tests you have done.The chances of false negative results are possible in highly sensitive tests but as i said it is quite uncommon nowadays.

Hope this detailed answer will be helpful.


Dr.Sandip Kabra

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Sonia Raina
Follow up: Dr. Sandip Kabra 10 hours later
Thank younfor your response
Just a few more questions ,
What excalty is a dry cough? My cough is itchty and my voice is kinda deep and i feel mucus going down my throat, my nose is running at times but not much, is this how the hiv cough is? Also is it normal for a regulat cough to last this long ?
And what do you mean by highly sensitive test? Ive taken 3 oraquick test in 8 months usally 3 months apart all negative so if i did have it one would of came cane out positive right?
Answered by Dr. Sandip Kabra 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
If 3 ora quick tests came negative,then you won't have HIV infection.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for the reply.

As you had already done 3 ora quick test and all came negative then you do not need to be worried about HIV infection.

Highly sensitive function tests when come positive they must be confirmed by specific tests and if they come negative then one does not need to go for further tests means there is almost nil chances of having false negative results.

In acute HIV infection, one could have cough without any mucus from the throat called as dry cough or non-productive cough.

Your cough with mucus or sputum could be due to some other infection which can be treated easily with appropriate medications and yes,it is quite possible that one may have cough with mucus since long time because of some bacterial infection.

Hope you will understand now. If any clarification then feel free to ask me.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
Follow up: Dr. Sandip Kabra 17 hours later
What could be causing these sores also i do have genital herpes and i usally dont get out breaks but in the past 3 months ive been getting them frequently and with out breaks its not alot of sores ill be like one or two little ones at a time , any reason why this could be happening ? The same goes for my lip in the past 3 or 4 months ill get one sore on my bottom lip this is the first time i get two
Answered by Dr. Sandip Kabra 46 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Seems to be mouth ulcer.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for the reply.

This looks to be a non-infective mouth ulcer which could be aphthous ulcers or dental ulcers or cold sores (caused by herpes simple virus/oral herpes) may be but I will think this as the last possibility.

The reason could be iron deficiency anemia, deficiency of vitamins B or folic acid ,chronic constipation,lack of adequate sleep, behind this repeated mouth ulcers under of lips.

However,it is very difficult to prevent this ulcers,we just manage to cure them.You can start below treatment.

1) Apply zytee gel over the ulcer.

2) Oral pain killers such as paracetamol can also be used if it is severely painful.

3) Take multivitamins like becosules with folic acid 5 mg once daily for 7 days.

4) Chlorhexidine mouth wash and warm salt water gargles 2 to 3 times daily.

I expect that you will start improving in 3 to 4 days and it may take 7 days to get it healed completely.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Sonia Raina

The User accepted the expert's answer

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