Most people with HIV will not experience any unusual symptoms for two or three years. So, the only way to know whether you have HIV is to get tested.
In many cases of HIV, the infected person will experience flu-like symptoms in the early stages of their infection. Many people think this is a cold, and once they recover they think nothing of it.
Not all those who experience these symptoms will have HIV, but the only way to know for sure is to get tested as soon as possible. Better2Know provides HIV testing across Asia and can detect the virus as early as 10 days after the incident you are concerned about.
Did you know …
There are 2.4 million people living with HIV in Asia who are unable to access treatments. Read more.
Early Symptoms (first six weeks)
In the early stages of an HIV infection, just over half the people who contract HIV report flu-like symptoms. These are a result of a process called seroconversion. This is where a foreign pathogen has triggered the immune system to respond by creating antibodies to combat the virus. The most common symptoms of seroconversion are:
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
- Aching muscles and joints
These symptoms can occur from the first week after possible infection and can last for up to six weeks.
Longer Term Symptoms
There may be a period of two of three years where you do not experience any symptoms, although you may feel it takes longer to recover from illnesses. In this time the virus can result in further damage to your immune system by reducing the number of CD4 cells. This means your immune system is weakened and unable to fight off foreign pathogens. A chronic HIV infection can produce symptoms such as:
- Weight loss
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Night sweats
- Persistent cough
- Serious illnesses or diseases
HIV and AIDS
Should a chronic HIV infection continue to go untreated, you can then be diagnosed with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). An early diagnosis should prevent HIV from reaching this latent stage and the best way to be certain of your sexual health status is to get tested.
You should get an HIV Test if:
- There is any chance that an exchange of bodily fluids may have taken place with someone who is, or may be, HIV positive
- A sexual partner tells you they are HIV positive
- You have recently had unprotected sex with a new partner
- You have shared needles or injecting equipment
- You have had a tattoo or piercing without a sterile needle
- You or your partner have another sexually transmitted infection
- You are pregnant or planning a pregnancy
- You have, or may have, encountered contaminated blood
What should I do if I think I have HIV?
HIV can be managed, often with antiretroviral therapy, and is no longer considered a life-threatening disease if detected early enough. So, it is important to get tested now if you have any doubts concerning your HIV status.
To book your HIV test with Better2Know today, you can use our online booking system by clicking on the orange button at the top of the page and following the instructions. Otherwise, you can call our trained sexual health advisors on the number above and they can arrange your appointment or answer any additional queries you may have.