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More on HIV symptoms

stop aids signI previously wrote an article on early HIV symptoms.

I am still receiving a lot of questions with regards to HIV symptoms so I am writing another article to provide more details.

What is HIV ARS?

When people talk about ‘HIV symptoms’ they are generally referring to the symptoms that appear soon (2 to 6 weeks) after a person is infected with HIV (as opposed to late AIDS symptoms which take years to develop).

These symptoms are a result of the body mounting an immune response to the HIV infection, NOT due to the infection itself. That is why you find similar or identical symptoms with other infections.

It is also commonly known as Acute-Retroviral Syndrome (ARS, ARVS), acute primary HIV illness, acute HIV syndrome and Acute Sero-Conversion Syndrome.

HIV Symptoms are due to the immune system responding to the virus that is why many other infections can cause the same symptoms.

What are the early symptoms of HIV infection?

Because the whole body is reacting to fight off the virus, it is not surprising to find a variety symptoms affecting all bodily systems.

General – Fever, Sweats, Lethargy, Malaise, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss

Skin – Rash, ulcers , Sore throat

Digestive – Nausea, Diarrhea, Loss of Appetite

Neurological – Headache

Musculo-Skeletal – Muscle aches, Joint aches

Not everyone will develop all these symptoms. These symptoms can develop in varying combinations.  The most common symptoms are fever, sore throat, rash and swollen lymph nodes.

Only 40% to 70% of people infected with HIV will develop ARS symptoms

Who gets HIV ARS symptoms?

It is estimated that between 50% to 90% (some say 40% to 70%) of people who have been infected with HIV will develop HIV ARS. There is no way to predict who will develop ARS and who will not.

When do HIV symptoms appear and how long do they last?

HIV symptoms can appear anytime between 2 weeks and 6 weeks after infection. Most people who do develop the symptoms do so at 3 weeks.

Symptoms generally last for at least 2 weeks but have been known to last up to 10 weeks.

‘Flu-like’ is not ‘Cold-like’

HIV ARS symptoms are often described as ‘Flu-Like’. Many people think having a Flu is similar to having a Cold and this has led to a lot of confusion.

Many patients see me for minor cold symptoms such as running nose, sore throat or a mild cough and are worried to death about HIV.  These are Cold symptoms, they are not Flu symptoms.

For those of you who have had the Flu before, you will know what I am talking about. With a Flu, you will be very sick. The fever is high and persistent, the bodyache is very bad and you literally cannot get out of bed.

To be more precise, ARS is also described as mononucleosis-like symptoms.

The HIV ARS Rash

This is a great source of worry for many people I see. I have seen people coming in with literally one tiny red dot on their forearm convinced that it was a HIV rash. It is not.

The HIV rash usually comes on 2 to 3 days after the onset of the fever and lasts for at least 2 weeks. It is a Morbiliform (looks like measles) Exanthem rash consisting of macules and papules up to 1cm in diameter which are pink to red in colour. Each lesion remains discrete and do not become confluent. It is widespread and always (100%) involves the upper thorax and collar region also commonly (60% to 40%) affects the face, arms, scalp, thighs and palms in descending order of frequency.

Basically, the rash is BAD. Your friends and colleagues are going to take one look at you and ask ‘Hey why do you have a rash? Go see a doctor’.  If you have to hunt for individual spots or patches randomly on your skin, it is not a HIV rash.

The HIV ARS Rash looks like Measles

The HIV ARS Fever

Where do I start? I have patients measuring their temperatures hourly and freaking out when it hits 37.1⁰C because they read somewhere that ‘normal body temperature’ is 36.9⁰C and therefore they have a fever and therefore they have HIV. That is paranoia.

The HIV ARS Fever is high, usually above 38.5⁰C when taken from the ear.  The HIV ARS Fever is long, usually lasting for at least 2 weeks most of the time longer. It is usually associated with other symptoms such as lethargy, malaise, muscle aches and joint aches.

The HIV ARS Lymph Nodes

This is another great source of worry. I have seen patients who cannot stop rubbing their necks feeling for lymph nodes and melting into a panic state whenever they feel a lump that they have not felt before.

First of all, you can feel normal non-enlarged lymph nodes especially in thin people. So being able to palpate a lymph node does NOT mean it is enlarged.

Enlarged lymph nodes are about 1cm in diameter. In HIV ARS, there are usually many of such lymph nodes in the neck, groin and underarms. They are usually tender (i.e. painful to touch).

The HIV ARS Sore Throat and Mouth Ulcers

The sore throat associated with HIV ARS is bad. It is not a little discomfort in the throat or the sensation of having to clear your throat. It is painful. If you ever had Strep Throat before, it feels like that.

It is commonly described as an exudative tonsillitis. In other words, you will be able to see white or yellow pus-like substance on the tonsils. The tonsils themselves will be red and swollen. About 20% of the time, there are also ulcers round to oval in shape, 5mm to 10mm in diameter with a white base and red halo on the inside gums, tonsils or roof of the mouth.

Anxiety can frequently cause the muscles around the throat to tighten leading to some throat discomfort. This is NOT HIV.

What other diseases have the same symptoms as HIV ARS?

First of all, the Flu. And by that I mean an Influenza infection, not a cold. See above for details.

HIV ARS symptoms also mimic the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis very closely (also known as Mono or Glandular Fever). HIV ARS symptoms can also be mistaken for an acute Hepatitis A or B infection, Parvovirus infection, Cytomegalovirus infection and Toxoplasmosis. It can even be mistaken for Rubella (German Measles).

Take  home message: Do not assume and do not self-diagnose based on symptoms. Go get tested.

Click here for HIV Testing FAQ

Conclusion

The only way to know for sure if you are infected with HIV or not is to get tested. Until that is done, try not to worry about your symptoms.

If you have to worry, then worry if you fulfil the following criteria:

  1. You have had a high risk exposure 2 to 6 weeks ago
  2. You have a fever above 38.5⁰C that just does not go away
  3. You have multiple small red spots covering your face, neck and upper chest
  4. You have a really bad sore throat with ulcers in your mouth
  5. You have been diagnosed with another STD like Gonorrhea or Chlamydia
Click here to learn about other factors that increase HIV risk

If you had a high risk exposure to HIV within the past 72 hours, you can take medicines to reduce your risk of actually contracting HIV. Find out more on HIV PEP Treatment.

Click here for info on PEP Treatment at Our Clinic

Remember, you are not doing yourself any good by hunting for symptoms. Take a deep breath, calm down and focus on getting the HIV tests done.

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Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.

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1,346 Comments

  1. Last 2 weeks..had unprotected sex with a girl when I’m drunk. When my penis went into her vaginal. .I quickly take it out after about 10 min coz I realised it was unprotected. Now I’m really scared as have rash on my arm . But no fever n sore throat. Pls advise doc.

  2. Hi doc..I had unprotected encounter w a girl when I’m drunk.. When she enter my penis into her vaginal about 5 minutes. .I stopped her from doing so cause I knew without protection.Im so scared now.. it’s into 3 weeks..as I have rash on my arm only. No fever no sore throat. .Please advise.

  3. Nicholas

    Hi, i had protected sex with a prostitute 2 years ago. However, there was a small cut near the base of my penis around the pubic hair area (There was no blood). I am worried that vagina fluids might come into contact with that cut. 1 or 2 weeks after that i had flu and felt fatigue for a few days. I went for a HIV test(oral test) only about a month after i had sex and it turned out negative. A small lymph node (around 1cm) appeared below my chin / neck and has been there for around 2 years too. I am recently worried that my HIV results might have been wrong since it was still within the window. What are your thoughts about it?

    • Nicholas

      Also, since I done the test using saliva only 1 month after I potentially got exposed, what would be the accuracy of the test that I took?? Thanks

    • Oral HIV test is only accurate after 3 months after exposure. Your lymph node may or may not be related at all. If you are worried, get yourself tested again.

      • Nicholas

        ok. Thank you so much for your reply. Sorry but can I just ask 1 last question??? How do you tell a difference between a cyst and an enlarged lymph node????

        • It can be difficult to tell the difference between a cyst and an enlarged lymph node sometimes. An enlarged lymph node can be painful or painless, whereas a cyst is almost always painless unless it gets infected. Common areas for lymph nodes are the neck, just below the jaw line, armpits and groin area. Cyst can appear anywhere. Both cyst and Lymph node have smooth surface.

  4. WorriedWell88

    Hello Dr thanks for the page. It’s very helpful. I had anal sex with a male prostitute with a condom, I inserted. I was unable to keep an erection so I’m not sure if the condom slipped off. I then removed the condom and finished with my hand. At first I didn’t think there was a risk but the mind is a powerful thing which made me look for every little symptom I got. I took a home access express antibody test at 10.5 weeks which was negative. I thought I was done with the whole mess. But then I developed a burning tongue and a scratchy throat and I assumed the worst. I finally got the courage to do another home access express test at 4 months which did not detect any antibodies. I’m still worrying about every single thing that comes up in my body. Every time I see my significant other say she has any small thing I freak out and go to the bathroom to check my throat and my mouth. I’ve become obsessive compulsive to the point where I have lost weight and cannot concentrate at work. What are chances that both antibody tests were false negatives?

  5. 12 days after i gave unprotected oral sex i developed tonsilitis with phlegm i went to the doctor and gave me antibiotics, 2 days later the tonsilitis cleared up..

    my question now, how risky it is to have hiv due to giving oral sex ( i cant remember having mouth sore or bleeding that time) and does HIV ARS response to antibiotics?

    • No risk of HIV from oral sex unless it is between 2 gay men then there is a theoretical risk of 0.04%. Click HERE for more info on HIV risk in oral sex.

  6. Sir,2 Month ago i had a sex with sex worker,but unfortunately after having sex i took out condem but forget to wash hand with soap water.after nearly 30 minutes i use same hand for cleaning my penis with water only.after few days of that events i got fever With 99°degree and went away.but fatigue,white spot on tongue ,sore thoroat and loose stool is still existing i am in doubt i have hiv,will the hiv virus live nearly 39 minutes outside the body.i am from nepal sir plz anwer my comment.

    • First of all I think you are barking up the wrong tree. You are at risk of HIV from your session of protected sex NOT from your contaminated hands washing your penis. And your risk of HIV from that session of protected sex is really really tiny. So don’t worry. If you are still worried, go get a HIV test. And while you are doing that, it is also prudent to test for all the other STDs. Condoms are NOT 100% protective.

  7. Thank you

    Hi Dr,

    I went to the Robertson Clinic last Friday. I want to say thank you for the experience.

    I was greeted by your friendly staff at the counter. After I told them I here for the Anonymous testing. They promptly pass me the form and told me to indicate my Race, age, gender and nationality.

    They told me I dont need to put in my name or my mobile. When it is my turns, the staff just smile at me without making other people in the clinic realised my existence… The doctor is also very patient to answers all my questions. She is very patient with me as I was very anxious. I keep asking the same questions over and over again. Before I was about to left her room, she asked me do I need to talk to someone while I was waiting for my results. Then, someone came and talk to me while I was waiting for my results. He is a counsellor.

    I am quite surprise by all this small little things that your clinic provides. From the registration to the consultation to the waiting of my results. I was very stress when I decided to go for a test. I feel that there will be people looking at me and what will people think of me.

    I want to applause your good services and your professionalism. Surly, you guys are very mindful of what your patient will go through during testing.

  8. babo1991

    I am gay, and i had unprotected sex. I was the receptive partner and he did not have any precum, he also didnt cum inside me, after 2 weeks, i started to have rashes. The rashes start from one then the next day got two then the next day got three and so on. Its mainly in my left forearm (6 red dots), right forearm 2 red dots, neck 1 red dots and chest 2 red dots. I do have mild sore throat but i do not have fever. Do you think this might be ARS? im very scared. Pls give me your opinion

    • Dr Justin Sim

      ARS symptoms are usually described as ‘the worst flu ever’ so symptoms are usually very severe. However, some people may only get mild symptoms. It is difficult to say for certain whether yours are due to ARS. Given your exposure, which is still high risk even though you mentioned no ejaculation occurred, you need to get tested at the right time to be absolutely certain.

      • babo1991

        thank you so much for assisting my concern dr Justin, but is the nature of my rash considered as ARS rash? i dont think i have macupapular rash like the one in google, i just glad somehow i dont have other symptoms.

  9. Hi Dr, thank you very much for your informative article, it has helped a lot in clarifying for me the nature of early HIV symptoms (ARS). However, I do have a few questions.

    I had protected vaginal sex with a sex worker about two weeks ago.
    Yesterday I started feeling like going down with a flu or cold, not sure what it is, and today it has been the worse day. These are my symptoms:

    – Mild fever (peak at 38.3 when measured on the ear, but after a few hours it went down to 37.5 celsius)
    – Chills
    – Runny nose
    – Sneezing
    – Nausea (when eating greasy food)
    – Profuse sweating
    – Watery eyes

    I went to a lab to do an RNA Qualitative test at 12 days after possible exposure and it came back negative.

    My questions are:

    1) Are my symptoms consistent with HIV ARS?

    2) Do all the the signs of HIV ARS happen at the same time? I mean, could I still get a rash for example, a symptom coming after the others, if this was ARS?

    3) How conclusive is a qualitative RNA test at 12 days?

    I appreciate very much your kind help Doctor. Anxiousness, fear, stress and guilt have been killing me.

    • Dr Justin Sim

      Your symptoms are compatible with ARS but remember that ARS symptoms are described as ‘the worst flu ever’. Most symptoms will occur around the same time but they can occur anywhere between the 2nd and 4th week after exposure. The RNA test is conclusive after 10 days. So in your case your symptoms are very unlikely due to HIV and much more likely due to a cold or flu virus. If you are still concerned then you may want to be tested with the 4th gen test at 28 days after exposure.

      • Thank you very much for your reply Dr Sim.

        Yesterday my fever increased so i went to urgent care. I tested positive for the flu (with nasal swab) and i was told that this had complicated into pneumonia.

        Does this rule out HIV ARS as the cause of my symptoms or could they still be related? Does the immune system get weakened considerably during primary infection facilitating viral illnesses?

        I will get a follow up test at the 4 weeks.

        Thanks again, your help is extremely valuable!

        • Dr Justin Sim

          It looks like a cause has been found meaning HIV is much less likely. Get the follow up test in 4 weeks just to be safe though.

  10. I am in a panic and was hoping to get some advice on my degree of risk and testing (done and planned)

    18 days ago, I had oral sex with a stranger in a ‘cruising’ area. I am a bisexual male and performed the oral sex. No blisters or marks on the other person’s genitals. I performed oral and stopped prior to ejaculation – finishing with my hands to avoid anything getting into my mouth. The finishing portion was rough and I supposely scraped him a little with my teeth. When it was all over, his penis had a few drops of blood on the foreskin. I do not know if any got into my mouth and I freaked out immediately. I was hoping you could give me your opinion on the risk, as I’ve seen similar cases get everything from ‘little risk, don’t worry’ to ‘get on PEP right away.’ The internet is very contradictory.

    I took an oraquick test the next day to provide a baseline – the isolate this event. Negative. A week later, I mistakenly thought I had thrush, though it was natural light whiteness on my tongue – no different than what I observed in others after my initial realization/reaction. So I know that hypochondria is playing a role. I have had no fever or rash though I had a little bit of a headache today. I had a minor sore throat, but not enough to be an ARS sore throat.

    Would an ARS headache only be in the back of the head, like a stress headache?

    I had an HIV RNA test done on the 14th day – though I’m still waiting on it b/c quest labs has a 5 business day wait for people in NY, NJ, and MA. Would that be fairly conclusive?

    I’m also thinking about getting another oraquick later today (day 18). Would this be of any use? Should I just wait until my mon/tues results of the RNA?

    I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown here.

    • The risk of getting HIV by performing oral sex is very low. Even with the history of scanty penile bleed and abrasions, the risk remains low.

      Given that you’ve already done an RNA PCR I’d opt to wait for the results. An RNA done at 10-12 days post exposure would be considered conclusive. Additional tests will not add value to the results. Try not to worry too much and wait for your test results. The anxiety will be over soon.

  11. Hello sir,I had protected sex with a prostitute but didn’t know whether the condom broke.So i did HIV 1/2 & P24 test on 37th day and came non reactive.But after the test on the same day i got joint pain for 1 day.then a red patch near my elbow under the skin for 1 week and then on 43rd day i got some small raised bumps near my ankle area and on 47th day i developed 2 mouth ulcers inside my lower lip 1 is small and 1 is slightly bigger and i still have them it is just over 1 week but now they are not painful.So are my symptoms suggesting ars?I am from india

    • Dr Justin Sim

      Your HIV test was conclusive at 37 days so the symptoms you are experiencing are not due to ARS. Something else is going on but it is difficult to know without being able to see you so my advice is to get seen by a doctor if your symptoms don’t settle.

      • Thank you very much sir and your entire team for wonderful work you do towards the betterment of the society.God bless

  12. Hello sir.Thanx a lot for your wonderful work.I have 2 mouth ulcers inside the cheek from 47th day of my exposure.Now it is 56th day.And I have a diarrhoea too but not severe.I did test at 37th day post exposure for HIV 1/2 and P24 combo test and it came negative.But I am worried for the symptoms.Are they seem like ars symptoms?

  13. Carlos

    Hello,

    My question is: Is dry cough that persists for more than 6 weeks a symptom of ARS? Or is a dry cough a symptom of only the flu?

    I had protected vaginal sex (I was very intoxicated). I also gave Cunnilingus to a woman. 8 days after, I had my left tonsil swollen with exudates, body aches, fatigue, and later on I developed a cough that is still persisting even after 7 weeks (today). These symptoms lasted only a week and only the cough persists.

    I did an hiv antibody test 3 weeks after this exposure, and I got tested negative. I know that 3 weeks is too early, so I’m going to do another test next week (8 weeks after exposure).

    This all happened in Cancun in February. I am freaking out of anxiety whether this was due to ARS or the flu.

    Is dry cough that persists for more than 6 weeks a symptom of ARS? I know flu is a more common symptom of a dry cough.

    Thank you,

    • Chronic cough is NOT a HIV ARS symptoms. There are many other possible sinister causes of chronic cough like lymphoma or lung cancer. You should be worried and you should see your doctor for the cough but you should NOT worry about this being a symptom of HIV ARS.

      • Thank you so much for the reply,

        I will believe in your words. Have a great day.

  14. Hello Doc, I’m having difficult time right now, Please answer me.
    I having sex with a prostitute and condoms break it last something like 20 seconds. I pulled out immediately after I realized it. I’m worried so much and taking a test 2 weeks after exposure and it’s reactive!! (cmia) I’m taking test again after 3 months it’s reactive again!! (cmia). I taking western blot (4 month) and it says my hiv 1 and 2 non reactive. Sometimes I have little loose stool it happen at least 1 or two a week.I also taking 2 different test (4 months) I forgot the test name.. And it’s say non reactive. Should I move on?

    • Please answer my question doctor.
      Sometimes I had dizzy head, caught at night and something like diarrhea cause the stool more loose and the colors is little dark. This drive me crazy and I never do this kind stupid things again. Please answer my questions Doc. I Appreciate it very much. Thank you

      • Honestly none of these symptoms sound like they are due to HIV. That is however not saying that you are not infected with HIV. Remember that half or more than half of patients infected with HIV actually do not develop any symptoms. You should still look to get tested to be 100% sure.

    • You had 2 positive screening tests at 2 weeks and 3 months and only waited till 4 months to do a Western Blot!!???? What the hell is wrong with your doctor!!??? I’m sorry for the language but this is absolutely freaking ridiculous. I am so angry right now. Look, stop seeing whoever you’re seeing. Go see a proper HIV doctor and get proper testing. Based on this, I have absolutely no confidence in the tests done for you.

      • Thank you for your reply Doctor. My country is poor country and city lived is none of the doctor specialists like that. I must flew around 3 hours flight to get Tested. The three results I got its from three different lab. What should I do. That’s the best specialist Doctor I can get. After reactive cmia test they taking me to tested again Elfa test and immunochromatography (sorry if the writing is wrong) it’s say Non Reactive at 3 months. After non reactive western blot test in 4 month and body examination (like mouth and skin skin etc.) The Doctor says that I don’t have Hiv. That’s very relief but with two reactive cmia I kinda scare and doubt that why I asking you Doctor. Do I need another test like 6 month or even a year? Thank You Doctor

        • Dear Doctor, please answer my question. It drive me crazy everyday. Should I move on or what kind advice do you suggest..please Help me…

  15. solstice

    I have oral to a man exactly two weeks ago. He had no visible sores but I scraped him either during the oral or the handj** after. No ejaculate was taken but I’m unsure if blood entered my mouth or if blood began after. He had a few drops forming after and a small smear. Fresh cut.

    8 days later, I had a mild sore throat that went away quickly. Looser stool, but I have IBS and that was likely nerves.12 days later, I noticed a mild white on my tongue like a mild thrush. Could this be ARS given the lack of fever, rashes, much of a sore throat?

    I had a baseline oraquick test the day after to ensure that all tests after would only be covering the one event and it’s aftermath. I went to get an RNA test today, but it will be 4-5 business days for a result. Could any seasonal illness impact that test? My daughters both came off a common cold and I’m sure I’ve been exposed to it.

    Also, if I did a new oraquick on Saturday (18days) would that hold any validity?

  16. Thank you Dr, I’m very confused about the ARS 2 weeks beginning phase… Would that refer to 8 days beginning or 14 days… In my case my symptoms did not even last a full week and all came separately nausea though came and went until 2 or 3 weeks past exposure!

  17. Hey Dr Tan,

    Really great page, makes me feel much better for reading it. I had unprotected sex with (what turned out to be) a prostitute around 6 days ago Thursday early AM and I’ve been paranoid ever since. I made her get an HIV test the day after the event, last Friday and she is HIV negative. I got myself tested just in case also negative. Earlier today I started feeling some pain in my throat, I can’t tell if it’s psychosomatic or not as it started coming on after I read about HIV symptoms on the internet. I’m not coughing but I feel a lump in my throat and feel like I need to swallow mucus down a lot. I’m extremely anxious over all this. Nothing else to report, not running a fever, going about my day as usual but throat issue is concerning me.

    Any thoughts?

    • I should say I think she is a prostitute, I don’t actually know – her English was very poor. I can ask her any follow up questions you might have to make this issue more clear.

      • Shall I ask what HIV test we both took? It was from a top clinic in town with a lab on site to analyse the tests.

    • Sounds to me like you are being worried about nothing. She took a HIV test and was negative. More likely than not, she does not have HIV. It is possible she was infected very recently and that she is in the window period yet contagious. But what is the likelihood of this? I would say it is low. Furthermore, even if she does have HIV, your risk of catching it from unprotected vaginal sex is 1% at worst. So chill man.

  18. Hello Dr, I would like to find out about the ARS Fatigue, would you feel constantly tired through out the duration of the ARS or does it come and go, and get better if you sleep.. But come back again… After 11 days of my sexual encounter I found myself extremely tired I would just doze off uncontrollably… But it would go if I had a nap but return later in the day. It was only that and nausea which also came and went with time, but these symptoms did not even last a week, by 5 days they we’re gone. Have you ever seen a case of ARS with only these 2 symptoms?

    • Fatigue is such a non-specific symptom we really cannot use it in any helpful way to determine HIV infection. Ask yourself this – what can cause you to feel fatigue? You can probably come up with at least 20 reasons. So how are you going to link it to HIV ARS? Similarly there is no way I can comment on whether it is caused by HIV ARS or not. To answer your question directly – No I have not seen a case of ARS with only these 2 symptoms. But I will remind you that MOST HIV cases I diagnose do NOT have ARS symptoms.

  19. Sadeeg

    Hi Doctor

    First of all thank you for a wonderful page, it really eased my stress.

    If you don’t mind, I would like to ask you more questions.

    I received unprotected oral sex, 4 or 5 weeks ago and in the past week I have had flu like symptoms like:
    fever with 37.8 C with dizziness
    Slight sore throat with mild coughing
    Rashes that go away, and three or four red dots on my arm that I just noticed
    Weight loss (5 kg) in a week or two.
    I am not sure about the lymph nodes but a doctor checked them 4 days ago and he said I am fine.

    I am in in full panic mode, I am even taking anti anxiety pills. My stomach has been hurting for 6 days straight, which might be the reason of my weight loss.

    Are the odds of getting hiv from oral sex or a hand job high ? I checked for common stds and they were all negative.

    I plan on getting tested next week, but it would really help me during this Easter weekend if you can reply.

    Thank you

    • First of all those are not flu symptoms. Those are cold symptoms. Secondly there is no way on living earth that you can get HIV from receiving oral sex and a hand job. So go get tested, you will be OK. Enjoy Easter. Go for an Egg hunt, eat lots of chocolate reassured in the fact that you do not have HIV.

      • Sadeeg

        Hi Dr

        Thank your for your response, it put me somewhat at ease.

        But I have also have been having diarrhea (could be due to stress) and whitesh tongue.

        I read online that the odds of getting hiv from oral sex are low, but my worry is that I am showing most of the signs.

  20. Anthony

    Dear Dr Tan,

    I tested in Sg clinic 6 times in last 6 months with rapid 4th gen test and which includes 4 test after week 12 of possible exposure (protected oral and vaginal sex with csw in Oct).
    I got oral thrush after 105 days ( 15 days after I stopped my antibiotics for sore throat).
    After 4 months had dizziness for 2 weeks then took some muscle relaxer by my GP and was fine.
    Since then I am having continue tinnitus in one ear and mild thrush still there..
    Pls suggest if I can move on ?
    All test conclusive ?

    • You mean the doctor at this SG Clinic did not tell you? Then what is the point of getting tested?

      • Anthony

        Sorry to bother u dear Dr Tan . But I went to afa test. Site and volunteer /nurse over ther e told me about it being conclusive. But due to above mentioned issues, I am still getting scared . Your opinion will help me a lot hence pls suggest if I can leave this scare and testing behind.. Last test was at 24 weeks mark with 3rd gen rapid test.

  21. sickWitWorry

    Hello Dr,

    I would like to find out if with ARS is 10 days normal for it to begin. It started out as fatigue coming and going, and mainly GI symptoms all in all lasted 5 days, but the 15th day it was all gone, I’m worried. Please help

    • Dr Justin Sim

      Usually they will appear between the second and fourth week after infection. Symptoms are quite severe and described as the worst flu ever – please see the following article for more information on the symptoms http://www.drtanandpartners.com/?p=1610
      The symptoms you exhibit are not typical of ARS.

  22. Worried

    Hello Dr,

    I would like to ask, had intercourse with some one who’s status I do not know… 10 days from there I had fatigue for 3 days, nausea coming and goin and diarrhea on a different day, all in all, symptoms were all gone in 5 days… Does this look alarming? 10 days is the beginning of 2 weeks so I’m abit scared. Cause now I have a burning sensation on the tip of my tongue feels like its been irritated I don’t know if this is now an HIV symptom.. I’m horrified, please help

    • Dr Justin Sim

      This sounds like you may have had stomach flu or food poisoning. ARS symptoms are much more severe. A burning sensation on the tip of your tongue is not an ARS symptom. However, you may choose to get tested at the appropriate time for peace of mind.

  23. Hi doctor i am very worried, scared and afraid please help me.I had a protected sex with prostitute in korea, suwon station on feb 14th 2015 now it’s around more than 5 weeks.I took a hiv rna test after 22 days of sex, it came less than 20 copies, doctor said it is negative. This tuesday I took anti hiv 1 / 2 serum test,result will be said next week, but after sex i had little fever but persistent loose motion from few days of sex, but from this monday i am having fever, too much headache and from 2days I’m having throat pain and loose stools sometimes, which is more from this monday and unfortableness in stomach. I am very worried, please help me with my symptoms related to hiv? and hiv anti hiv 1 / 2 results after 5 weeks are conclusive?.please help me i am very scared…….please reply early…I’m scared.

    • Of course your symptoms are not due to HIV. Your RNA test at 22 days is already conclusive. Your latest test will also show you do not have HIV.

      • Hi doctor, thanks for the reply.As you said,i got the result ,I am HIV negative.Doctor I have 2 questions.
        1. Should I take another HIV test? If so should it be after 3 or 6 months from exposure to sex.
        2. from 1 week, there is some white patches on the inside part of penis its wide spread and its scary and my penis pains too, I am scared can it be any STD., but i tested for syphillis, it is negative.
        Please tell me your opinion on this.

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