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What are the symptoms of HIV?

Answered by
Dr. Roopa Hiremath

Infectious Diseases Specialist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 877 Questions

Posted on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 in HIV and AIDS
Question: Hello; here is my story (Male,23 years old)
I had sex with a sex worker about 8 weeks ago(unprotected oral only and I ejaculated in her mouth)( she is HIV+ I found out after the exposure) ;
I couldn't stop thinking about it (maybe a month after exposure) ; I started to get some symptoms:
sore throat, muscle pain all over my body (more back and shoulder), sometimes I few heaviness under my jaw, and even on my face , everyday I get chills( specially In my back) (Sometimes a sharp pain under my jaw and throat)
I read some information on this forum and many other forum regarding oral sex and the risk of getting HIV and almost every one concluded that oral sex is close to zero when it comes to HIV.

let me mention that I also took a oraquick test (swab) at about 7 weeks after exposure.. it was negative

my symptoms come and go for a few hours maybe half a day (I still have the symptoms)

my questions are :

I am HIV + ?
has anybody else feel this before ?
maybe this is anxiety playing tricks on me ?
How accurate is this test at 6 weeks ? have you seen anybody have different results after this time ?
Any personal stories similar to mines ?

Answered by Dr. Roopa Hiremath 45 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Oral sex risk very low but not zero

Detailed Answer:

Welcome to health care magic.

I have gone through your query and I understand your concern regarding exposure to HIV.

HIV can be transmitted by oral sex and the virus can gain entry through small abrasions caused on the genital mucous membrane.

Once the virus enters the body it reaches the local lymph nodes and multiplies for 4-11 days and then reaches the blood.

The body tries to fight against the virus by producing antibodies against it which usually takes about 3-12 weeks. This period is called window period.

Coming to symptoms of HIV infection, some patients develop symptoms like fever, lethargy, arthralgia, skin rash and lymphadenopathy.

I am suspecting anxiety in your case because symptoms seem to be very non specific.

Oraquick test is a rapid screening test which has to be confirmed by either an ELISA or Western blot test.

Answers to your queries are as follows:

You have a low risk of HIV exposure but HIV negative status has to be confirmed.

There are many patients who come on this forum with similar stories as yours and have been guided efficiently by specialists on our forum.

The best test to do now would be ELISA for HIV 1 and 2 antibodies which will relieve your anxiety regarding HIV status.

Some specialists suggest a 100th day ELISA test which will also rule out the window period of HIV infection.

I would suggest you undergo ELISA for HIV 1 and 2 antibodies now and then repeat the test after 100 days of exposure to confirm your HIV status.

I hope I have cleared your doubts.

Please get back if any more clarifications.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Roopa Hiremath 4 minutes later
Have you heard of someone getting HIV from receiving oral ?
Answered by Dr. Roopa Hiremath 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
0 to 3% chances of acquiring HIV through oral sex

Detailed Answer:

Welcome back.

I understand your anxiety and stress regarding this episode.

There have been studies where they have shown risk of acquiring HIV infection through oral sex which is ranging from 0-3%.

Persons with bad dental hygiene, oral ulcers and other sexually transmitted diseases have higher risk.

I have not seen or heard of a patient getting HIV infection through oral sex, but there is a possibility of transmission through this route. It cannot be ruled out completely.

Moreover, unprotected sexual intercourse whether vaginal, anal or oral with a partner who is HIV positive is considered high risk behavior and HIV status has to be confirmed by testing blood sample.

I would suggest you undergo the tests I have suggested in my previous answer to confirm your status and that will relieve you of your stress about that episode once and forever.

Coming to your symptoms, sore throat, jaw pain and chills in the back are symptoms of any viral illness and this is usually self limiting.

Moreover, HIV infection is not diagnosed based on symptoms because there are many HIV positive individuals with no symptoms at all.

HIV status has to be confirmed by testing only.

I hope I have cleared your doubts.

Please get back if any more queries.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Roopa Hiremath 2 days later
on an average how long does the symptoms last ?
I been reading lot of comments I see people often have symptoms and it turns out they are negative ;
could anxiety be really making feel all this symptoms on someone ?
how reliable is my oraquick at 7 weeks (almost 8) ?
Answered by Dr. Roopa Hiremath 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Acute retroviral syndrome lasts for 2-4 weeks

Detailed Answer:

Welcome back.

Some patients do develop symptoms when infected with HIV. This is called acute retroviral syndrome and symptoms include fever, lethargy, arthralgia, skin rash, lymphadenopathy (mild), rarely mucocutaneous ulcers and depression. These symptoms last for 2-4 weeks.

It is true that some people do imagine many symptoms they read about on the net and get stressed even more regarding HIV exposure.

Anxiety can make you feel symptoms with no real organic cause.

Hence HIV status has to be confirmed by testing blood sample only and HIV infection is not diagnosed based on symptoms.

I have told in my previous answer that oraquick test is a screening test and the result has to be confirmed by ELISA or Western blot test.

I hope I have answered all your queries.

Please get back if any more doubts.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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