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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.

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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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About Dr. Tan
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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703 Comments

  1. Thank you, this helped me through my freakout.

    • Thank you for appreciating what we do. I will try to write more of such articles.

      • Hi Dr.tan I just wanted to ask if I had gotten oral sex from someone could I get HIV I’m a girl. I hadprotected sex with a condom aug 24im sure it didnt pop or have little tiby holes in it but you never know. Recently I have horrible back pain arm pain joint pain my whole body hurts I always get bad headaches and now I have a soar throat and im always tired and i dont know why. also I always feel week sometimes I have bad fatigue and sometimes I throw up all my food or water I’m so scared. Before this last sexual contact I had was. june 4,5 and 6 and I used protection to my knowledge hopefully it didnt tear during sexual contact or he took it off because he is really dum like that. But for those 3days to my knowledge i used magnum condoms i wasn’t pregnant and I got tested for all diseases. JUly 27and I was fine but I think boys are out to get me and the only thing I could do is wait for the 6month period so I could be extra sure which is nov 24. I feel like I have it but then I feel like i dont

  2. Thank you so much for this article. You have releieved a lot of people.

  3. Can nausea for one week be a symptom of ARS (without high fever, rash, sore throat)?
    Also, do the symptoms come all at once or could it be one after another after another?
    Thank you for your expertise.

  4. thank you so much for the detailed explanation. just a small query though. Ihad an ELISA test wen I started developing rash on my arms and it came negative. I do not have any fever and do have a mild sore throat coz its common to me. any suggestions that I should still have a test again? I had the test at 6 weeks after exposure. its 8 weeks now and I still have rash but now on chest,face,neck and back along with arms and legs, but not prominent though. kindly advise

  5. Dr. Tan,

    In your experience what is the absolute earliest symptoms can show up? I know average is 2-4 weeks. I have heard 7-9 days in rare cases. What’s the earliest you have seen in your practice?

  6. Dr. Tan:
    Your explanations are the most thorough I have seen online. Last Sunday I went to a bath house at 9 pm. and had and received unprotected oral sex, without seminal emision (maybe unnoticeable pre fluid). I played and almost did but did not fulfill an insertion. Tuesday morning (1 day and a half later) I awoke with a mild sore throat (the terrace sliding door had been left open and while at bed I could feel a blade of air cutting through me). That afternoon, after lunching at a cafe under an air conditioner I had chills and started running a high fever (38.5). I slept badly, sweating profusely. Woke at dawn (Wednesday) with intense nausea, but couldn´t vomit. It lasted about 1/2 hour with chills. Spent day in bed with same fever, at times going down to 38 or slightly less, but then up to 38.5 until night. Thursday fever went down to normal (or 37). No real rashes (maybe a few pink dots I have, being very fair and with tendency to dermatitis and keratosis), except that today -after shaving, not having done so for three days- I noticed one bumpy rash between my chin and lower lip (about 1 cm in height) and what seems to be a cold sore (if not initial herpes lesion) in one corner of my mouth (I´ve had lip herpes in the past four years: maybe one or two episodes per year, with faster recurrences, maybe three, in the last 6 months). I seldom have unprotected sex. I did so (on the giving side) on November 1 (that is, three months or almost thirteen weeks ago). I haven´t tested for HIV yet, and I don´t think I would until May (three months after this last episode). I would very much like your opinion as to possibilities of ARS (both in relation to last Sunday´s episode, with fever just one day and 3/4 after; and the one 13 weeks ago), as to the seemingly faster recurrence of lip herpes (even on the skin below it). Thank you very much

  7. I really like the clarity with the HIV ARS syndromes, its really helpful so that one can easily rush to get tested as quickly as possible. One major issue I want to be clear about, is the lymph nodes, how big do they swell especially when it relates to ARS. Do they look pimply or bigger than boils. Thank you

    • Lymph nodes are not pimple and are not boils. If you think they are, you are looking at the wrong thing. An enlarged lymph node if about the size of a cherry.

  8. i had protect sex with prostitue after 5 months i started experiencing some frenquently flu, then after another months i tested hiv come back negative both that was after 6months. later i started having some wounds on my tongue i went to hospital the told me it s fungal (thrush) i was freak out i went for another test come back negative now i have done 6 test all are negative after 7months. but my thrush keeps being with me what can i do please tell me if anything i can do
    if you feel more helper please reply throu my email is : nurudini11@yahoo.fr please i will be happy to here from you

    • You do not have HIV. I suggest you look for other possible causes of your oral thrush.

  9. John Oaks

    Hi Dr Tan,

    Thanks for your great service. I’m just wondering what ARS Rash looks like?

    Thank you so much,

    John

  10. Hi! Ive been tested at your clinic 4 weeks ago using the Alere rapid test (blood pricked from my finger). Last risk exposure prior to the test was more than a year ago. The test result was negative. However just last week (3weeks after the test done from your clinic), I noticed a mouth sore (5-10mm) with white base from my gum (upper last molar), similar to what you have described in the ARS symptoms. Then 2days ago I noticed 3 more small sores in my upper front gum. I do not have sore throat, fever or rashes. Do I need to worry that these sores maybe an ARS symptom? Was the Alere rapid test done considered conclusive (negative) or do I need to repeat another test? Thanks and appreciate your reply.

  11. Hi! It was my first time to post yesterday but not sure if the post went thru successfully as it states awaiting moderation. Do I need to register first before my post can be seen and get a reply?

    Anyway I’m re-posting my question. Ive been tested at your clinic 4 weeks ago using the Alere rapid test (blood pricked from my finger). Last risk exposure prior to the test was more than a year ago. The test result was negative. However just last week (3weeks after the test done from your clinic), I noticed a mouth sore (5-10mm) with white base from my gum (upper last molar), similar to what you have described in the ARS symptoms. Then 2days ago I noticed 3 more small sores in my upper front gum. I do not have sore throat, fever or rashes. Do I need to worry that these sores maybe an ARS symptom? Was the Determine rapid test done considered conclusive (negative) or do I need to repeat another test? Thanks and appreciate your reply.

    • The Alere Determine HIV 1/2 Antibody rapid test at 4 weeks is not conclusive. You will need to repeat it at 3 months.

      • Thanks Dr Tan. Maybe I was not clear on my previous post. The Alere Determine Rapid test done at your clinic was after more than a year of risk exposure and not 4 weeks after risk exposure. 4 weeks ago was the time I was tested negative at your clinic. However 3 weeks after the test I developed mouth sores similar to ARS symptoms described in your article. Do I need to worry that these are ARS symptoms? Does the Alere determine rapid test result of Negative conclusive & no need for me to do another test? Thanks again doc Tan.

  12. Reliability of hiv DNA proviral test at 6 weeks

    Hello Dr.Tan
    Kindly please let me know about the reliability of the test hiv proviral DNA pcr at 6 weeks more precisely at 44 days post possible exposure. Thank you and regards.

  13. Reliability of hiv DNA proviral test at 6 weeks

    dear sir, kindly please let me know the reliability of the test hiv proviral DNA test after 6 weeks or 44 days after exposure. Thank you.

  14. Hello. Good day, pls is pain around the groin area after 5 month of exposure signs of ARS? M also experiencing tiredness and bitter taste in mouth, coupled with swollen node under jaw, the both is swollen, having difficult opening my mouth too, and difficulty chewing! Thank you! Pls advise accordingly.

  15. Hello Dr.Tan

    Can u kindly advise me about DNA proviral hiv 1 pcr reliability at 6 weeks. Thank you.

    • As good as conclusive.

      • hello Dr.Tan

        hi. dr. tan. I had a oral sex with ejaculation in my mouth swallowed some semen and spit after a min or two. I had DNA proviral pcr hiv 1 at 6 weeks or 42 days. Some say that DNA pcr is not reliable after window period I.e 2 to 3 weeks in that case can I take my DNA pcr results as conclusive. Please kindly reply. Thank u. Regards

  16. hi dr.tan ,

    my name is joseph , male age 31.

    i was exposed for the first time ever on 10 dec 2013 ( massage girl in Dubai , HIV status unknown , we ended by a protected vaginal sex for 2 min then after an unprotected oral sex for another 2 min)

    on 18 of Jan i started to fill not good and i have some fever on 19th i get like high temperature for 24 hours and it was terrible (39.5 C) freezing , joint and muscle pain and some throat sore )
    one day after the temperature decrease , and i start to have some secretion from my noise ( like flu )it last for additional 4 days

    i didn’t notice any other signs mentioned in your post .

    do u think that is it HIV signs??? i very worried … kindly helpp

    • just to add doctor that the week to 10 days after , i had a smelly discharge from noise with green-yellow color

    • Your symptoms do not sound typically like ARS. That said you should still screen for HIV and all other STDs.

  17. hi dr tan,
    i went to thailand 6 days ago…on my second day there a local girl sucked my dick and im really afraid that i will get aids…since its like 5 days ago what should i do??please reply

  18. hi dr tan,
    i went to thailand 6 days ago…on my second day there a local girl sucked my dick and im really afraid that i will get aids…since its like 5 days ago what should i do??

  19. Charles

    Thanks for this highly informative article doc. I just have a question regarding the appearance of these symptoms. Do they appear all at once I.e having high fever, rash, headache, swollen nodes and typically will dissappear at the same time? Thanks

    • They usually appear within 2 to 3 days of each other. The fever and rash usually linger on the longest.

  20. Charles

    Also I have one misconception on the definition of a sore throat in ARS. I have had to clear my throat many times a day due for about 10 days straight now which started 5-6 days after my sexual contact through oral sex. I do not feel pain when swallowing. Can this be described as a sore throat akin to ARS?

  21. I am wondering if ARS symptoms all came at once or one by one is possible ?

    • Most of the time they come within days of each other. But not everyone will have all the symptoms.

  22. Thanks.. now I got sore throat headaches and swollen lymph glands and I showed most of the symptoms like arthralgia, myalgia about 1.5 days loss of appettite about 2 days. And now my headache cames and goes. Also pain in my throat goes when I drink hot tea.and some mucous like thing draining to my throat from behind.does that correlate with early HIV symptoms.

  23. Jessica

    I had what i REMEMBER being a protected encounter with someone from a non-high risk group, and now I am experiencing the following:

    -Persistent Fever (4 days now)
    -Swollen Lymph Nodes
    -Aching Muscles — this has mostly persisted now

    Never even considered HIV as I remember the encounter being protected but I had been drinking. The symptoms started 2 weeks after the encounter. Went to the walk in clinic today and the doctor recommend bloodwork including an HIV test and now I am worried.

    What are the transmission rates as a receptive female without protection or if the protection failed?

    Thank you

    • It depends on many factors. As a very rough gauge it is about 1 in 500.

      • Jessica

        Thank you for your response. Your article is correct hat I cannot self diagnose and keep freaking out but can only wait for test results and react accordingly. This is what I try and focus on.

      • Jessica

        Athough one quick question — Does ARS fever not respond to ibuprofen?

        • Yes it does but only temporarily and the drop in fever is not much. This is from my anecdotal experience.

  24. How long do myalgia and arthralgia last.do they come and go. I had severe muscle and joint pain in my upper leg 12 days after contact. And they come back yesterday(22 days after) also I had pectorial pain when touch.

  25. rahulroy

    Hi doc, I recently met a gay friend.we had a sexual encounter,he intially gave me a handjob for about 30 secs,I also gave him a handjob .After that we exchanged saliva for about 40 secs,I had a cut on my upper lip(cracked lip),after that he gave me a blowjob,I had no visible cut on my penis(circumcised) and neither did I cum in his mouth.The blowjob lasted for about 30 secs.After this I took my penis out of his mouth and placed it on his anus.i didn’t insert my penis but placed it their for about 5 secs,i tried to push my penis couple of times but i guess i didnt penetrate him,maybe 1mm hardly from the anus hole,the penis-anus thing was brief about 5-7 secs long.after this when I was about to cum,I turned to the other side and cummed.After this we both slept.AFter two weeks he told me that he was hiv positive(of around 12 months),he tested recently and had a low viral load and high cd4 count.two weeks from the incident(the day he told me)I started to have runny nose(not severe,just little bit),mild fevers(lasted for about a week),headache(lasted couple of hours),no sore throat,no swollen lymph nodes,no rashes.What is the chances of me getting the hiv infection? are my symptoms consistent with ARS,i know symptoms are not a reliable way of diagnosis,but i am still in the window period,so getting the info,how much risky was my encounter?

    • 2 happy facts: I think your encounter is extremely low risk. And I think your symptoms do not sound like ARS at all. You’ll most likely be fine.

  26. Rjco Edwards

    i kissed a girl with a cut in her mouth who might be hiv pos. Later i have had a fever sore throat, swollen glands in my neck,neck stiffness and 2 rashes on my arm could i have hiv?

  27. i kissed a girl that may be hiv pos and she had a cut in her mouth. I have had swollen glands,sore throat, fever, cold sores and 2 rashes could i have hiv?

  28. Charles

    Good Day, My issue is: I had a protected intercourse with a lady about 7 weeks ago, but during the intercourse I observed that the condom broke, so I immediately withdrew, only to observe traces of blood on the condom, I asked her she wasn’t sure where the blood came from but said she is suspecting her monthly flow might well be on its way, but while she was with me nothing flowed, I rushed and washed myself I took my bath, my issue now is that about 6 days later I had a fever, that night, the next day I took Malaria tablets, as am in West Africa, Malaria is quite common,that evening and the next when I commenced the treatment I felt better, about a week later I observed excessive sweating, though I know I sweat quite much I can’t distinguish if my sweating much was normal or abnormal, added to that I observed some rash on my abdomen and a little on my thighs, so exactly two weeks and 4days after the exposure I went to to the STD clinic met a care giver who observed my symptoms and the rash and said it looked more like a heat rash, and she ran a rapid hiv test on me and it showed negative but told me to retake at 12weeks for conclusiveness, my major concern now is dat for abt 2weeks now av been having diarrhoea, though not too watery but loose stooling. I have not had any swollen lymph nodes so far or a sore throat. But I heard diarrhoea is also a symptom of ARS. The caregiver said she didn’t see any lymph nodes wen she checked on me, my question is dat is it possible that my lymph nodes are swollen secretly or maybe at two weeks plus after exposure it hadn’t swollen but has swollen after that time and I can’t see it, and diarrhoea after 5weeks is it consistent with ARS.and if it was ARS fever would it respond to treatment and resolve after three days. Thank you. I strongly would appreciate your reply as I await my 12weeks mark am very worried and scared.Thanks for your time

    • I cannot say that you are not at risk of HIV but I certainly can say that your risk is low. Since you are in West Africa you should also be aware of the possibility of being infected with HIV 2. Since a medical professional has seen your symptoms and is not worried about ARS, then I am also less worried. Since you are already at 7 weeks post exposure you can do another HIV test now. Honestly it would be as good as 100% accurate and you can put your fears to rest.

      • Dear sir
        I have swollin glands in my jaw both sides painless.
        size is very small like peanut.
        Allso painful back throught is swollin from weeks .
        tounge is mostly mild white are yellow.
        been for a hiv test after 12 weeks by NHS Nagitive also std, s Nagitive.
        I heard hiv can appear in upto six months.
        is it true.
        Actiely I had last December 23rd unprotected orel and protected interiors.
        Done hiv duo 32 days nagitive lab in manchester
        5 week nagitive lab hiv duo
        6 week nagitive lab hiv duo
        7 weeks hiv + std’s NHS All nagitive
        8 week lab hiv nagitive
        10 weeks NHS Hiv and std all nagitive
        11 week lab nagitive
        12 week NHS hiv + saf Nagitive
        13 week again been to one of NHS Clanic ruslts are on the way.
        very worried about swollin glands in jaw.
        life is finished.

  29. Good day I had unprotected intercourse with a lady about 3 weeks ago,2 days after that, i had a fever and a runny nose and felt better in like 3 days,and like a week later i had a mild sore throat which lasted about a week or so..been having a headache back and forth and from my waist down i feel like my muscle and joints aching,feel very tired to move are my symptoms consistent with ARS,i am still in the window period,so getting the info would help thank you.

    • Your symptoms sound nothing like ARS. That’s the good news. Wait till the window period is up then get tested.

  30. I had sex with a stripper approximately 4 weeks ago. I’m a heterosexual male and it probably unprotected. After about 2 weeks a got a slight cold that lasted a few days. I had a cough and runny nose that last about 4-5 days in total. I never had a fever. It got better and then about 4 days later I developed swollen lymph nodes in my neck that gradually got worse. a few days after that I noticed I had a very slight rash on my low back (looks more like hives). I also noticed I have white tongue. These symptoms have persisted for the last 5 days. It seems my body is trying to fight an infection but why have I not had a temperature above 98.5? Can you please tell me if this could be something other than ARS?

    • This does not really sound like ARS. It’s already been 4 weeks since your exposure. You should just go get a HIV Combo test done and get yourself some peace of mind.

  31. Chris Martain

    If you kissed a girl who may be hiv pos, with a small cut in her mouth but no blood was seen or taste and can you catch hiv that way? Because the kissed her i had 3 swollen glands in my neck, a slight fever,fatigue,and a small clear colored rash on my hand. Or could it be glandular fever? PLZZ HELP!

  32. Checken

    I had protected sex with a shemale(i was active), but had a small fissure in my finger. 11 days after this contact headache started. 2 days later a sore throat started. I also started cauching. I don’t have fever, no rash, no muscle pain. But the headache is really extreme, and i felt really miserable. It is not every day but is coming in clusters. The first week i also felt very cold, but had a normal body temperature. Could the fissure(not bleeding) be a risk for HIV when i did touch mucous membranes? My symptoms already last for 12 days, sore threat is getting better, cauching is getting better, tonight i had a heavy headache again, every time behind my right eye. Last time before tonight was 5 days ago.. Thank you for your time

    • The fact that you had protected anal sex already puts you at risk of HIV. I do not think the fissure on your finger made any difference. I also do not think your symptoms are due to HIV ARS as they are too early.

  33. jjjaya

    I had unprotected sex unknown status person I got my symptoms 3rd month soretrought I got test ag/ab combo result(.10)no reactive on 105 day after this test symptoms lose stole for 2week due to it 4kg weight iloss again I test same result(.11) non reactive now I got skin rashes lymphnode on back on neck small pump and red and I got sore and mouth infection several lips tough I am on 5month now pls guide me sir 4month test conclusive or not sir my symptoms start from 3.5month

  34. Hi,
    I m a 17 year old male. Please help me. Can Hiv transmit if we get a little blood (exposed to air for about 1 minute) inside our mouth.Need help, I’m having high anxiety. I got a wet cough, cold and fever after 5 weeks from this incident. I also have a very little tiny mouth ulcer……My fever, cold and cough lasted only 3 days. Are these symptoms of early HIV? How long does ARS last normally? What if I had a non bleeding cut inside my mouth? Can HIV transmit through blood inside mouth? Please answer my question ASAP……I really appreciate your help.

    • Very confusing post. So you are telling me you had some HIV infected blood inside your mouth? Yes, theoretically that does pose a risk of HIV infection although I would say it is an extremely small risk. HIV ARS symptoms usually last 2 weeks but can be longer. Yours do NOT sound like ARS symptoms. I suggest you go get a HIV test done instead of just fretting about it.

  35. Hi Dr Tan,

    First of all, would like to thank you for this fantastic write up, clearly gave my some sort of comfort since i am actually freaking out right now. I would like to share you my story. Last month I had an exposure with a commercial sex worker in indonesia, unprotected oral for 3 minutes and vaginal for almost 15 mins. We also shared some deep kissing. 2 days post exposure i began to develop theoat discomfort and chest inflammation, burning feet and slight night sweats until now. Never had any fever and flu like symptoms as what you had described. However, i developed a mouth ulcer which is quite big, but no thrush and its the only one. Few days back i also developed a red mark on my body but it is flat and non itchy. I started to have pimples / red dots on my face on the same period. 2 weeks post exposure, i went to a clinic to check my blood (CBC) but the doctor said nothing was abnormal. On the 26th day post exposure, i did a hiv test (elisa / eia hiv 1 and 2 ag/ab combo) and the result was non reactive. 2 days after that, i did a rapid test and the result was negative as well. Just wanted to get your opinion, do you think i am still at high risk, considering the test i had taken and the results that i got? At present i still dont have any flu like symptoms, except for persisting sore throat, slight stomach discomfort (no diarrhea though), red mark at my body and pimples on my face, night sweats and burning feet?

    Appreciate your kind response.

    Thanks you in advance.

    • Your symptoms do not sound like ARS. And honestly the tests you have done are already very accurate. I think you really need not be worried about HIV.

      • Dr Tan,

        Thank you so much for your prompt response. Will be having another check today, since doctor suspected it could be thyroid. However, will also include another hiv test for better comfort level. Do you recommend doing a western blt 4 weeks plus post exposure or just a normal test?

        Thanks

        • At 4 weeks the best test to do is a Combo test.

          • Hi Dr Tan,

            Thanks for oyur prompt response. Did HIV Ag AB CMIA test, result turned out to be negative (32 days after exposure). I understand that for a conclusive result, I should retest at 3 months post exposure, however given the high level of anxiety, I would like to ask for your opinion whether this result is almost as good as conclusive? Is there such thing as a “late seroconverter” ie serocovert after 30+ days post exposure?

            Appreciate your response.

            Thanks

          • Your result is very indicative. You should be extremely relieved.

  36. Hello Dr

    My exposure was around the second week in Nov 2103 a week into march i developed a red rash on my chest shoulder and under my breast the rash left crust skin behind i was given kectoanzole to treat the rash the doctor diagnosed as Tinea Corporis could this serve has the Ars Rash at 14 weeks out.
    thanks for your time.

    • Impossible to be ARS at 14 weeks.

      • Dr
        Can psoriasis in the groin region be a sign of Hiv infection?
        Thanks

        • No but a sudden worsening of psoriasis may indicate ARS. I must however warn you that this symptom should not be interpreted in isolation but taken as supporting evidence should there be others more typical symptoms of ARS.

          • Thanks Dr for your reply my exposure came during November of last year will ars appear now thru psoriasis at 18 weeks? The only other thing I can recall is athletes foot and tinea corporis on my chest

          • Unlikely. The only way to be 100% sure of your HIV status is to get tested.

  37. Hello Dr,
    This made me feel at ease after reading your blog.
    But i have a question,
    I had unprotected oral for about 1 min then I came out side of her mouth. This was about out 3 weeks ago. Currently I have a throat pain in my throat with alot of white phelgm and I alot unable to spit it a lot all out. I have gotten some episodes of tiredness and soreness from my neck region. I am worried it might be hiv ars. I am currently waiting to take a rapid hiv test at 4 weeks. What do you recommend ?

    • I recommend that you stop worrying and get the combo test done at 4 weeks just for peace of mind.

      • I will do that Dr tan.
        just thought I update you on this.
        Still waiting for later this week to take a test.
        But recently I have been getting rashes on my neck and back neck area. ( like small pink dots)
        Also my chest area seems to be flushed when I look at it. I looked at pictures from the net for the hiv rashes but they don’t seem to look like mine.
        I have no fever ever but i did get a sore throat. Buy as of now, I do get a random rash here and there that comes and goes. Specially when I get into a panic mode and I start to sweat a little.
        Is this part of hiv ars ? I am currently at about 4.5 weeks now

        • Does not sound like ARS.

          • I took a combo hiv test with p24 antigen at day 33 and came back negative.
            Also took a rapid hiv test at day 40 and it also came back negative.

            What are the odds of this changing ??

          • drtan

            Nil.

  38. Dear Doctor
    In Early February, stupidly and drunkenly I had a sexual encounter of mainly mutual oral sex with a female sex worker. I inserted my penis once unprotected for a few seconds panicked and pulled out.

    17th march
    a) 2 – 3 days of feeling extreme lethargy (worst I have ever felt) – have felt generally tired since this but not dead on my feet as per the first days
    b) 4 days thereafter neck pain (mainly neck) and shoulder and pain in left arm. Felt a few twinges in my groin area but subsided. then after 3 days both sides of my neck and shoulders.
    This has lasted for 20 days and at times has been intense to the point which has even woken me at night.
    c) Yellow Tongue / White tongue started 22nd to 30th March subsided
    d) During this period had 3 night sweats which woke me (never had before)

    Lymph Nodes not swollen, no rash, no sore throat, no flu or temperature, not done any exercise to consider neck as potential injury or strain nothing more stressful than usual. No trapped nerves.

    Very Worried but feel OK, I know can only confirm by a test but I work overseas and cannot return for another 3 weeks.

    Welcome your thoughts if these are potential ARS symptoms? Do they come on in stages like described or usually all hit at once?.
    Be assured I will get tested as soon as I return
    look forward to your guidance as anxiety is beginning to get the better of me (google!!!)
    Many thanks
    Peter

    • Does not sound like ARS at all.

      • Thank you doctor
        For any ars symptoms do they come on like this sequentially?
        I will still test for peace of mind should I request the combo given time from exposure early February

        Thank you again

  39. Alex Alleyne

    Dear Dr,
    I kissed a girl who could have hiv she had a small cut in her mouth but there was no blood and when we were kissing i didn’t taste any either but after a 2 weeks or so i had a fever, a dry cough, 2 swollen glands in my neck, neck stiffness, back pains, a small rash on my arm, fatigue, dizziness on one occasion and that was after i kissed her again about 3 week later and I’m really worried if i caught hiv through kissing i never had unprotected sex and only had sex once and i used a condom.

    • You can catch HIV from protected sex but not kissing.

      • How can u catch it from protected sex? The condom didn’t break.

        • drtan

          Good question. Theoretically speaking even something as small as the HIV virus should not be able to penetrate an intact latex condom. However, multiple scientific studies on condom use has shown time and again that people still get infected with consistent and correct condom use. I honestly do not know why.

  40. Is it possible to have runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, nasal congestion and cold for more than 1 month.. In the CBC test my eosiniphil count is quite high (882) and rest are normal..

    I had unprotected role play with my gf,(she’s a virgin) we didn’t have intercourse but I’m afraid fluids were present…

    Please advice… Now I when I turn to my left side my neck hurts and my left biceps muscle hurt as well… :( should I be worried ?

    • Worried of what? HIV? Are you serious? You think you can catch HIV from your GF who is a virgin and all you had was role play? Dude, seriously man. I do not even know how to answer your question. Your symptoms and high eosinophil count suggests an allergy. Go see your doctor to get this sorted out.

      • Thanks for your prompt reply doctor.. However, we were grinding on each other… And I had a penis burn due to excessive rubbing… This is why I was concerned… Thank you once again..

  41. Events that happened :

    26 th March – had sex with a prostitute, condom broke while penetrating. instantly, I took my penis out…

    On 7th April – Bad sore throat, fever – 98.6..
    Took medicines..
    After that, no fever but still having sorethroat..
    Cough and running nose..

    As per prostitute, she said, she was clean..

    Very scared…
    Please guide me..
    Having red bumps on my skin, they come and go..

    As per prostitute, she said she was clean..

    • A bit early for HIV symptoms. Either way, you still need to test to be sure.

      • What do uu reckon my chances of getting HIV

        • And one more thing, I would like to ask..
          Are these symptoms related to HIV, as yu said..
          Fever will persist and with a high temperature, but in my case..
          It was just for the night when I had that bad sorethroat!?

      • Sir..
        I am very worried, could you please reply back to my queries….
        I will be very thankful to you…
        Please sir..

  42. Dear Dr Tan..
    I had protected sex with CSW in geylang on 02Apr2014..I believe there is no breakage or slippage of condom. After 5 minutes of work I removed the condom intact. I do not have any of ARS symptoms till today. but I feel very worried for my action for which it is haunting me and I lost sleep and food. HIV antibody test negative taken on 2nd week (15Apr2014). Can I take combo test on 23rd day ie 25Apr2014.. will the result be conclusive??

  43. Hi doc,

    Had unprotected sex 11 days ago. Start to have sore throat, ulcer and feeling tired.
    Lets say if I am infected now. Will the anti body test be positive now? And also if I test still negative does tat mean the sore throat, ulcer and feeling tired dont not related to the infection? Pls advise me… I need ur help…

    • It is really too early for you to be having ARS symptoms. I am sure your symptoms have nothing to do with HIV.

      • So doc. This is my 2nd week after exposure. Does it mean is after the 2nd week then the symptoms will start to appear? And when does the symptoms usually start to appear?

        • ARS symptoms can start to appear after 2 weeks. Most commonly they appear at 3 weeks.

  44. i had unprotected oral sex with a masseuse and touch her clitoris ( i didn’t finger her) with a cut on my finger. i have read so many forums and all have different answers. some said no risk at all and some said low risk. it’s about 3 weeks now and i have mild headache that started about a week ago and it isn’t going off. a few days back i had sore throat and i notice that there are some white patches in my throat. does ‘normal sore throat’ has a bit of white patches? no fever no swollen lymph nodes as of now. i know it could just be a normal flu/cold but because i seldom get sick and ‘just nice’ my headache and sore throat come after 2 weeks.

    • As far as I am concerned, there is no risk. I think why you see different replies is because the evidence is not black and white and different people give you different answers to serve different agendas.

      • thanks for the reply. i will be going for the combo test next week and hope that the result will be non reactive. some websites also stated that 4th gen combo test are conclusive at 6th week but not 4th. how reliable is the result at 4th week? as i am on medication for sore throat and headache now, will it affect the result?

        • As far as I am concerned the combo test is conclusive at 4 weeks. Your medicines will not affect the accuracy of the tests.

          • thanks for the reply again. i don’t mean to doubt you but because else where are saying 6 weeks to be conclusive. and the reason why i want to do a combo test is i don’t want to wait for 3 months for a conclusive result. as the combo test is not cheap, if 4th week is not ‘official conclusive’ then i may wait for 6th week. also have you came across false position for combo test?

          • The combo test is conclusive at 4 weeks. I do not understand ‘false position’.

      • Preocupado2

        Hello Dr.Tan, thank you in advance for your amazing work.
        Could your answer change if the finger was introduced into the vagina and if the cut was fresh (not bleeding but fresh).
        Thanks

  45. Hi doc. Is hiv rashes itchy and can be small bump? Does it comes after having a fever?

    • HIV rash is rarely itchy. It usually comes about 3 days after the fever.

      • Can it be feel by hand?? I mean will it be a small lump? And it wont be just a few small dot right?

        • Dear Dr Tan,
          27 days post exposure HIV Combo test done showed non reactive is it conclusive result?? Thanks

          • Officially the combo test is conclusive at 28 days. However, I really do not think 1 day makes any great difference.

  46. Dr. Tan,

    I had brief unprotected vaginal sex with a girl I didn’t know on a one night stand. That was almost four weeks ago. 1 week after, I got a cold sore that went away after about a week. Also after a week I got a mild sore throat, headache, and diarrrea that all come and go over the last few weeks. I have had no fever, actually my temperature is low, around 96 or 97. I have also had itchy skin on my abdomen and neck mostly for about three weeks, but I can’t see any visible red bumps or rash. It it possible this is HIV? Or am I just being paranoid and anxiety is causing all this?

    • Your symptoms do not sound like HIV symptoms at all. Maybe you are just being anxious maybe it is a run-of-the-mill virus. Either way, it is not HIV ARS.

      • Dr. Tan, thank you for the swift reply. I tested negative at four weeks with the Oraquick in home oral swab. I plan to test again when the window period is up. However, I still have a persistent sore throat and itchy skin in my chest and neck with no visible rash. I was wondering if you have ever heard I these symptoms in HIV ARS with no fever?

        • drtan

          Some people do not even get symptoms. Trying to determine if you have HIV or not from your symptoms is like trying to read Tarot cards. Basically useless.

  47. Hi Dr Tan,

    I was recently diagnosed and treated for gonorrhea after unprotected oral sex and protected intercourse with a sex worker.

    The doctor I went to (at a public sexual health clinic) was of the opinion that I am at a low risk of HIV and only did gonorrhea, herpes and hepatitis tests and only recommended that I do the HIV screening in 3 months if I am really concerned.

    My results came back negative for all except gonorrhea.

    However a few days after getting the treatment I developed a cold, which resulted in a severe sinus pain (no high fever, rash or swelling). After about 10 days of self medicating the cold is gone, but I have a dry troat with phlegm.

    I understand that this is not indicative, but would you recommend I do a HIV test asap or wait the full 3 months ? It has been about 4 weeks since the 1st rpund of tests.

    Thanks

    • Also I would like your opinion as to the risk I’m in, I’m currently based in Australia ( also where the encounter took place) and unfortunately, rapid hiv testing is not readily available.

    • drtan

      I agree with your doctor that your HIV risk is low. However, low is not zero and we would prefer to be conservative about things like HIV. Your symptoms sound nothing like HIV ARS. If that is what you are worried about then please do not worry. I think you can test now for some peace of mind (HIV ELISA 3rd Gen tests at 4 weeks are very very indicative) and test again at 3 months to satisfy window period testing recommendations.

      • Hi Dr Tan,

        Thanks for the info and reassurance, I’ve find a clinic here that does rapid hiv testing and the use the alere test.

        In your opinion how accurate is the test at 8 weeks ?

        Also I’ve read that certain medication and medical conditions may give a false positive result, as ive just had treatment for gonorrhea, will that affect the test in anyway ?

        Thanks

        • drtan

          Very accurate. Treatment for gonorrhoea will not affect the results.

          • Hi Dr Tan,

            Thanks for the info.

            Also with regards to ARS symptoms, you said they last at least 2 weeks, but are they recurring ?

            Also more about my cold, I had quite a bad running nose, with excessive thick white phlegm, with a slight to mild fever (e.g that feverish chill) and lastly the severe sinus pain and headache, it pretty much affected my entire right face, with a throbbing ache, stretching from the nasal canal to my upper molar.

            Is any of this symptoms common in HIV ARS ?

            I do apologise if this is getting tedious, but I am currently in the middle of nowhere with no access to sexual health medical facilities, and won’t be for another week. And this stress is killing me.

          • drtan

            ARS symptoms vary greatly between individuals. There is no one textbook description that everyone infected with HIV will follow. In short, analysing your symptoms will get you nowhere except cause you more worry.

          • Also with regards to the intercourse.

            At a point she removed the condom and proceeded to give me a handjob without wiping her hands, also she rubbing the tip of my penis over her vagina which was wet with vaginal fluids and lube, there was no insertion at all.

            Lastly after I ejaculated, I took a hot shower in which I felt a sharp pain in my urethra which fade almost as soon as it appeared.

            I thought nothing of it.

            In your opinion does this increase the risk I’m in ?

            Thanks

          • Hi Dr Tan,

            I finally did the rapid HIV test (Alere) at 8 weeks,results non reactive.

            In addition, I also went to do a full HIV screening, and the doctor I went to reckons that it should be the same as the alere test.

            You opinions on the accuracy ? and should I do a follow up at 3 months/6 months if I have been celibate throughout this time?

          • drtan

            I think it is as good as conclusive but officially you still need to repeat a test at 3 months.

  48. Hello Doc,

    Can HIV virus be transmitted to me if I only rubbed my penis on her vagina without penetrating it? After 2 days of doing so I experience lethargy and a mild sore throat. I have a small rash on my chest that last for only a few hours. I lost my appetite in eating. I wonder if all of this happens because I get paranoid and anxious after looking at the symptoms on the internet or am I actually experiencing the symptoms? I am feeling very paranoid and it affects my mood these past few days. What made me even scared is i start to go to bed earlier than i usually do. She is still a virgin but she has a history of vaginal yeast infection a year ago. I really hope I could get a response. Thank you!

    • drtan

      Well, if she never had sex then the only way for her to have HIV is if she abuses intravenous drugs, has had blood transfusion or organ transplants. If none of this applies then why are you worried? There is a theoretical risk of contracting HIV from rubbing because vaginal fluid can get onto the foreskin and into the urethra. However, since the viral load exposure is likely very low, the risk of infection can be low enough to be considered negligible. Your symptoms are much too early to be due to HIV ARS.

      • But what if her mother is infected by hiv and it passes on to her? Which I doubt so because neither of them takes long term medication.

      • And may I know if what im experiencing is a symptomp of hiv or ARS?

  49. James

    Can a person be infected by hiv because her mum has?

    • drtan

      Are you talking about vertical transmission? Of course it is possible. However, there are medicines these days to greatly reduce the risk. In fact, with modern medical facilities, it is almost inexcusable for a HIV +ve mother to give birth to a HIV +ve child.

  50. David

    I have a protected sex with a prostitute seven week ago. At that time I have a almost cure ulcer in my mouth. Will I be infected?
    I have some itchy skin rash on my waist now. It take a fews day to go and come again.

  51. David

    Hi doctor,
    I have a protected sex with a prostitute seven week ago. At that time I have a almost cure ulcer in my mouth. Will I be infected?
    I have some itchy skin rash on my waist now. It take a fews day to go and come again.

    • drtan

      The risk of contracting HIV from protected sex is low but not zero. There is still a chance that you can get infected. Please see your doctor for HIV screening.

  52. scared

    Why do some websites say ARS symptoms can be mild but you say that they are intense “Flu-Like symptoms.” I had a mild sickness 2 months ago that lasted 3 days which included mild fever, headache, sore throat and malaise. I was diagnosed with viral pharyngitis. My bf is now experiencing cold like symptoms 2 months later could this be ARS??

    • scared

      I had unprotected sex with another man who claims he’s HIV negative but hasn’t been tested back in Jan.

    • drtan

      I have said time and time again that you cannot diagnose HIV from symptoms. Not everyone gets ARS and not everyone gets the same symptoms. The only way for you to know if you or your BF has HIV or not is to get tested.

  53. Marcus

    I have sex regularly without a condom with my girlfriend. Neither of us has been tested recently. I had protected sex with several other women over the last few months and 3 days before I got sick I had unprotected vaginal sex with a 21 year old woman. That was on Thursday night, on Sunday I started to feel a sore throat on the left side and my nose was running. Monday morning I woke up with both my tonsils completely swelled, thick mucus covering them and the back of my throat. A fever of 103, both nodes under my chin swelled and painful, terrible pain in both my ear canals, and was unable to swallow. I went to a doctor and confirmed it was not strep, but it was viral. The fever subsided after 3 or 4 days, but the sore throat has gone on for 10 days (though it has gotten much better). No rash, no nausea or cough. But it was the worst sore throat of my life and scared me badly. What are your thoughts?

    • drtan

      Certainly not HIV symptoms. However, you might have caught throat gonorrhoea. http://www.drtanandpartners.com/throat-gonorrhea/

      • Marcus

        I appreciate that you think it is not HIV related. However, I am still scared. The sore throat had ulcers (on the tonsils), was covered in thick mucus, and made it very hard to swallow for almost 2 weeks. The fever did not last more than a few days, but the idea of HIV is still persistent in my mind. I would also like to mention that my gums have been bleeding regularly for the last couple of months. Not a lot of blood, but every day and soreness. I also worry because the fever was uncharacteristically high for me. As far as I’ve read, the sore throat is very consistent with ARS, the fact that I had no rash eased my mind a bit, but I’ve noticed that my girlfriend has had a persistent cough (with mucus) for the last several months. I don’t know doc. I just feel like the flu I had was worse than I’m used to and came on so fast and strong. I know I should just go get checked, but I’m afraid I may be too soon to get a correct result. The sickness started on 4/20. When should I get tested? What type of test should I get?

  54. Margaret

    Dear Dr Tan,
    My husband was found out infect HIV thru blood test. He been suffer cough, night sweat, weight lost, no appetite over six month. I got few Qs want to ask you.
    1. He told me that last he had sexual with other before we get married. That is 2 years ago. Is it HIV needs to take that long to produce?
    2. Within these 2 yrs I just had sex with him for the 1st ur. Once I conceived we never had intercourse even after I gave birth. Will I get HIV too?
    3. Is there anyway to cure HIV?
    4. Usually how long a HIV patient can survive? I ask this question because my husband nowadays seldom eat and don’t wish to meet up people.

    • drtan

      1. No. The reason that he found out only so late is because he waited until now to get tested. 2. You could have caught HIV from that 1 exposure. In order to know if you are infected with HIV or not the only way is to get a HIV test yourself. 3. No. However, it can be managed and a patient can lead a relatively normal life. 4. Normal life span. It sounds to me like your husband is slipping into depression. This is common in people who have just been told they are HIV +ve. Please get him to seek professional psychiatric help.

  55. Philip

    Hello Dr. Tan, I’m really scared to death at this moment. My exposure was on the 2nd of April, Had protected sex with a call girl, on penetrating her, the condom got broken so I withdrew immediately and wore a new one before I continued with the sex. On 30th of April I started having runny nose which later progressed to a cold characterized by sneezing and a runny nose. Also I feel pains in my left arm and pain in my right knee. Just noticed a swollen lymph node underneath my left jaw. I tested for HIV using ELISA test 16 days after this exposure which came back negative. Please really need your expert advice cuz the anxiety I’m going through is unbearable

    • drtan

      Your symptoms do not sound like ARS. Since it has already been 1 month from your exposure, why don’t you just visit us for a combo test and put yourself out of this misery.

    • Philip

      Hello, Dr. Tan, thanks so much for your response, unfortunately I’m from Ghana in West Africa.
      Just wanted to give you some updates on my case.
      Hopefully, my cold is gone and the swollen lymph nodes under my jaw are returning to normal.
      I tested again on Monday (05-05-14 almost 5 weeks from my exposure) using ELISA (since that was the only available test at the testing center). I still have some worries and plan to test again at 8 weeks and then finally at 12 weeks. I would like to know if my negative test at close to 5 weeks gives any indication of my HIV status.
      Best regards.

  56. Bruce

    Can anxiety cause this symptomps to appear? A day after I made a sexual intercourse i was feeling well until i went to search for the hiv symptoms on the net and from thereon i start to feel so anxious
    and stressed and worried and i start to get sore throat and dhiarrea and i start to feel very lethargic and I lost my appetite. May I know the symptomps im facing are due to the ARS or due to my anxiousness ?

    • drtan

      More likely due to your anxiety. ARS symptoms usually take at least 2 weeks, more often 3 weeks to appear.

  57. David

    Will hiv symtoms appear after eight week of exposure?

  58. concerned

    I had a rough patch and curious if it sounds like ars. I had unprotected sex with a girl. In a couple days I had a high fever and went to the hospital with an acute bacterial infection which I believe was from food. Seven days after the exposure while in the hospital I started an episode of shingles. When I finished the medication 7 days later a low grade fever started (under 38). The fever would break in the night and on the second night a rash started. Each time the fever would break the rash would spread. I went to the dr. and he diagnosed it as HFMD. I did not have sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, or and other symptoms. The rash had a slight itch but minimal. The fever went away after day 3 and the rash cleared up within 7 days. Does this sound like a weakened immune system and bad luck or potential ARS? Thank you.

    • drtan

      Your symptoms started much too early to be due to ARS. If all these happened 3 weeks from exposure then I would be concerned. In your case, I really cannot see that your symptoms are related to ARS.

  59. Had unprotected sex. next day itch in my urethra. 2 weeks later flu like symptoms no fever, just aches. for two weeks – pain on penis tip.

    What do you think?

    • drtan

      The itch in your urethra and pain could be an STD. Trichomonas maybe? Your other symptoms certainly do not sound like HIV ARS.

  60. Worried

    I had unprotected sex for the first time last november 2011. After that, my vagina got itchy. Few months later, i had a back pain and my urine had blood. And there was a time that i had fever. The last time i had unprotected sex was october 2012. And this year, just 2 weeks ago, i had rashes all over my body, face, palm, ears, fever for 4 days, swollen lymph nodes in neck, groin and armpit, painful joints. And i had low wbc count. Only 360. And my platelet count was high. And im worried because my tonsils look like there are white lines, but it was already like tis even before i had rashes. Is this hiv?

    • Dear Worried,

      Based on the timeline, your rashes appeared too late to be considered that from ARS. However the only way to conclusively say if you have HIV is by testing. You cannot diagnose HIV based on symptoms alone. Please speak to your doctor.

  61. Kezrizion

    I have red spots at my hands & elbows.Am i suffering from any illness or is this a symptom to smth big

  62. Dear Dr.,
    I had unprotected a month ago. A day after I had rashes all over my body and my body was itchy. I scratched my body and washed in very hot water to relieve the itchiness. I used Viagra during sex and was suspecting a reaction to the Viagra but recently (a month later) I am having bloated stomach and stomach pains on my lower left abdomen.

    I checked the web and noticed that rashes is an early symptom go Hiv infection. Could I be affected?

    Worried

    • Dear Jack,

      There’s not enough details to determine if your rash is from ARS. Having said that, it is impossible to diagnose HIV based on symptoms alone. You may wish to visit for a consultation re your rash and rapid testing to determine your HIV status.

  63. Michel

    I really appreciated your way of approach,
    I would like to hear from you. I was involved in an unprotected sex in december 2013, then in feb 2014 i got a very high fever of 40cº i was checck by the doctor, and was asked to do HIV test method Elisa 4th generation, which came out to be negative. That was after 8 weeks of exposure. My white cells have been low ever since and i had muscle pain and now im sneezing alot and i have ruuning nose. And i also have skin rash and the palm of my hands have kind of red nodes.
    What can you advice me to do? Im in west Arica.

    Thanks

    • Michel

      Sorry Doctor Tan, just to add i had a sore throat for days and bleeding on my gums more than 3 to 4 weeks, i also had yellow and red secretion coming from my throat which last for like 2 to 3 weeks,now my skin is peeling off on my feet, hands, public area, and i have black nodes in my hands feet.

      • drtan

        These symptoms sound very serious but are unlikely to be related to HIV. Please see your doctor about your symptoms.

    • drtan

      I think your combo test at 8 weeks is already conclusive. Since you live in West Africa, there is also a risk of HIV 2. The antibody portion of the combo test would have already tested for HIV 2.

  64. Philip

    Hello Dr.,
    I tested Negative at 5 weeks after a broken condom incident. Now, I’m having severe pains in my right knee. Could this be due to HIV.
    Thanks

    • drtan

      Nope but it could be due to Gonorrhea.

      • Philip

        Dr, I had no burning sensations or discharge from my urethra, could a man get gonorrhea without having the usual burning sensation that comes with it?

        • drtan

          Of course. 10% of gonorrhea infections of the urethra show no symptoms.

  65. Soworried

    Hello dr. Tan.

    I hhad a severe pain in right knee no injury it lasted for two days on the third day it was so severe that I could barely walk or drive I left work early and went to urgent care. The doctor was very short with me and just said it could be bakers cyst. When I got home I noticed it was mildly red and a little swollen. I have been resting and seems a little better today.

    My question is could this be ars. I had a two antibody tests over the past month and one naat test two weeks ago which came back negative but now I’m so worried that I need another. I went to free hiv testing places that I don’t know how sterile their equipment was. Thank you

    • drtan

      A severely painful knee is not an ARS symptom. However, it could be due to gonorrhea. Better go back to see your doctor.

  66. Good day doc, Are hives considered as HIV symptoms? 2 weeks after having unprotected sex i woke up with small hives on my legs mostly calf area. And can you get infected by having unprotected sex with a virgin?

    • Hi Maxi,

      Hives are not common manifestations of ARS. If your partner is a virgin, it is highly unlikely they have HIV or other STIs. Therefore your risk of contracting disease is extremely low. Please do note that certain activities (sharing drug needles, tattooing with unsterilised equipment) and sexual contact (e.g. frottage, oral sex) may still transmit STIs.

      Its always wisest to use a condom in all cases to best protect yourself. Get yourself tested if you are unsure.

  67. Hi Dr. I had an exposure with a Call girl on Feb 28 2014. After taht I was very worrried so I did HIV screening tests on below days;

    1. 32nd Day – HIV 4th generation Antigen\Antibody Test – Result Negative
    2. 48th Day – HIV Combo Test (Blood sample) – Result Negative
    3. 67th Day – HIV Combo Test (Blood sample) – Result Negative

    Could you please let me know, do I need to perform any more tests? I have a slight sore throat now.

  68. Mendi

    You said that(read above) the HIV sore throat is described as…..:
    ‘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’
    I have searched all the web and I could not find this description, except here.I am worried because almost 10 weeks after unprotected sex I experienced exactly these symptoms, swollen tonsils with white pus on them and fever for almost a week and with antibiotics these symptoms went away even the lab test for strepto was negative.I tested after 13 weeks after my sexual relation with rapid test and it turned out to be negative.What do you think doctor of that?

    • drtan

      I also said ARS symptoms appear between 2 to 6 weeks. 10 weeks is too late to be ARS. Furthermore a test at 13 weeks is conclusive.

  69. zaw gyi

    i had fever and sore throat 11 weeks after having unprotected sex ??? now the weather are so cold …..should I get tested for HIV ?? Can early symptoms occur after 11 weeks exposure …i m not native speaker …im bad in english …plz advice doctor …thz

    • zaw gyi

      and i had cough during night for two days after 11weeks ???

    • drtan

      Of course you should get tested for HIV and all other STDs. Not because your symptoms are sinister but because you have had unprotected sex.

      • zaw gyi

        Can early symptoms occur after 11 weeks exposure??
        U also said ARS symptoms appear between 2 to 6 weeks??
        i have problems for testing … so plz advice am i infected or not …thz

        • zaw gyi

          i had fever and sore throat after 11 weeks exposure ???

          • zaw gyi

            In your experience what is the absolute latest symptoms can show up? I know average is 2-4 weeks. What’s the latest you have seen in your practice?

      • Dear dr tan, I had unprotected sex with a girl five days ago and since the 2nd day of exposure, I started having ars symptoms like a really bad flu, fever, cough and sore throat. I also have 2 ulcers appearing in my mouth today. Are these ars symptoms or hiv?

  70. zaw gyi

    Can early symptoms occur after 11 weeks exposure??
    U also said ARS symptoms appear between 2 to 6 weeks??
    i have problems for testing … so plz advice am i infected or not …thz
    i had fever and sore throat after 11 weeks exposure ???
    In your experience what is the absolute latest symptoms can show up? I know average is 2-6 weeks. What’s the latest you have seen in your practice?

  71. tomorrow

    Hi Dr.
    I have been reading ur forum for awhile now. Thanks for the clear cut information.
    27days ago I met up with a random stranger for a short oral session. We both gave head and it lasted for a few minutes.(ejaculate on each other’s chest area)
    Have been having a bad bad sore throat for the last 10days with some fatigue and mild fever.
    I’ll be coming down for a rapid test tmr just for a safe mind.
    But am I at low risk? Or no risk?

    • Dr Elaine Loh

      risk of HIV transmission via oral intercourse is very low. However, if you would like to check for a peace of mind, you can come down for a combo test.
      I suggest you get your symptoms checked as well. In your case, you may benefit from a throat swab and STD screen as well as vaccinations which we can discuss during the consultation.

  72. voltmeter

    Dear doc.
    I have done the combo test after on day 29 of exposure. The result was negative. Is there any cases tat after the result is negative will turn to be positive? I start having afew ulcer and sore throat tat doesnt go away. And feeling tired easily.

    Pls do advise me.
    Thank you.

    • Dr Elaine Loh

      combo test is conclusive up to 28 days post exposure. We have not seen any cases where the results turn positive.
      Your symptoms can be due to other infections, so better to get yourself checked by a doctor.

  73. Dear Doctor, I had unprotected sex with a girl 5 days ago. 2 days after that, I started having ars symptoms like fever, a really bad flu and a really bad cough, as well as sore throat. I also have aches throughout my body and 2 ulcers also started growing in my mouth today. Are these symptoms to early to be ars symptoms?

    • Dr Elaine Loh

      first of all it is impossible to confirm the symptoms are ARS related, as other viral illness have similar symptoms. Essentially too early to be ARS, but we can only confirm presence of HIV via blood test, so its best to get it checked as yours was unprotected exposure.

      • Yes I will have it checked after a month. But 2 days after exposure is too early for ars symptoms to appear right?
        Thanks for the advice.

  74. Dear Doctors,

    Upon reading your articles, it had somewhat eased my mind a little bit.

    I am rather concerned with my current situation which had led me to sleepless nights and also projecting myself with suicidal thoughts.

    To start of, I had protected sex 2 months ago, however I do not develop any of the mentioned syntomps such as fever, flu or sore throat, red spots on my upper body etc. I am a childhood enzema patient but recovered almost well till now, at my early 20’s also I suffered from depression at the age of 20.

    For a week, I had noticed 1 “spot” that seems to appear like an ulcer, that had appeared on my testicles. I had been overly concerned and had applied all sorts of unpresribed medications on the spot hoping that it could go away. A few of these “spots” are also common on parts of my body which I have in since young.

    Now, might be because I had stressed the “spot” too much that it had not seem to subside any much.

    I am very depressed and concerned that I do not know what to do. I anticipate that I should receive medical attention, such as the rapid screening, however I am afraid of the results or outcome per se.

    I look forward for your advices, and thank you in advance.

  75. Dear doc,

    I was with a prostitute I attempted penetration but could not get hard, removed condom, got hard & we reused the condom. I am not sure if we put the condom on the correct way and not sure if during the first attempt it touched any of her fluids. Can HIV live in vaginal fluid outside of the body on a condom? It sat for about 10 minutes before we reused it. I am at 21 days and have had a nausas stomach for like 5 days but am also on Levaquin which could be causing the stomach issues not to mention anxiety. No fever, do have small red spots like zits on left forhead but no rash around them or anywhere else on body, glands seem fine. she said she in HIV neg.

    1. Does this sound like ARS symptoms

    2. does my rash sound like an ARS rash

    2. What do you think my risk for exposure is?

    • drtan

      Condoms are not 100% protective against HIV. So either way you are at risk. 1. No. 2. No. 3. Low risk but not zero risk.

  76. robert

    im bad in english . i had fever,sore throat,headache and cough for a week after *** 10 weeks of exposure unprotected sex.. i know early symptoms are within 2 to 6 weeks after exposure…
    now 7.5 month after exposure i m now having fever (37.5Celsius ) for 2 weeks
    1 what is the latest early symptoms in your experience ?
    2 can hiv chronic fever occur after 7.5 months of exposure

  77. robert

    Dear Dr ,
    sorry sir i m bad in english ..i had fever sore throat headache and cough for a week after

    ** 10 weeks of exposure unprotected sex.. i know early symptoms are within 2 to 6

    weeks..
    now 7.5 months ago after exposure im now having fever(37.5 Celsisus) for 2 weeks
    1. what is the latest early symptoms in your experience ??
    2 Can hiv chronic fever occur after 7.5 months of exposure
    Please really need your expert advice cuz the anxiety

    • drtan

      You cannot possible have ARS symptoms 7.5 months post exposure. You also cannot rely on symptoms to know if you have been infected with HIV or not. Please go get a HIV test done.

      • robert

        i had fever sore throat headache and cough for a week after
        ** 10 weeks of exposure unprotected sex …. Dr is that possible ???
        i know early symptoms are within 2 to 6
        weeks …
        i had unprotected insertive penile-vaginal sex with her….i have problems for testing …plz give advice me dr

  78. Malcolm

    Hello Doctor. Seven weeks ago I had insertive oral sex and mutual masturbation with a girl, maybe some vaginal fluids were on my hand. After that I realised that I had a little sore on my gland maybe done while oral sex with her teeth. The next week I had dry lips and a malaise sensation, like having fever but never more than 99F. Then I had headache for some weeks, a contracture on the neck, a swollen lymph node on that side of the neck, fatigue and yesterday I saw on my chest three red hard spots and I have a hot sensation like fire on the chest. Can it be ARS? When can I get tested? Thanks.

    • Malcolm

      Also I have white tongue and for some time a little throat pain. Thanks.

    • drtan

      None of your symptoms sound like ARS. Stop scaring yourself.

      • Malcolm

        So I must not take the test? Can I feel safe about the situation? I’m having diarreah as well for nearly a week. Thanks Dr.

        • drtan

          Not having ARS symptoms does NOT mean you are not infected with HIV. The only way to know if you are infected or not is to get tested.

  79. Steve E.

    Dr. About 2 weeks back I had sex with a transexual prostitiute. Mutual oral then me topping. For about 1or2 minutes it was bareback but no cum at all near any openings. Now I have what appears to be a sinus infection which ive had numerous times in my life but reading online makes me afraid of possibilty. Was tested last year clean so this is really asking about this encounter and what u think the chances of anything real bad going on? Thank you dr.

    • Steve E.

      Also just is it ARS do u believe or just coincidence that I got sick around the 2 week mark? Its spring time and this is always when I tend to get infections. Please any response would be appreciated.

      • drtan

        What I can say is sinus infections are NOT ARS symptoms. I do not think you should let your symptoms worry you. However, I’m sure you appreciate the fact that you still need to get tested to be sure you have not been infected.

        • Steve E.

          Thank you how long until I go for a test and which test do I need to get?

          • drtan

            That is something you need to ask your doctor. Usual recommendation is HIV antibody test at 1 month and again at 3 months.

    • drtan

      The risk of contracting HIV from insertive unprotected anal sex is moderate. Still in the region of less than 1%. Of course many factors and variables influence this. Sinus infection is not a typical ARS symptom.

  80. tomorrow

    Hi doctor tan.
    Thanks for ur forum, it has provided alot of clear cut details.

    My situation is that a month ago I hafunprotected oral sex(msm) but he blew me most of the time. And for the last few days I have been having a very bad sore throat, cough, phlegm, mild fever, and severe runny nose, alittle muscle ache too. Am I scaring myself?

    And since I already have been exposed a month can I do the rapid test and be ensured that it is 100% conslusive(I called ur office and they ask me to reconfirm with you) and will not need to do anymore tests at the 3,6,12 month period? (I’ll be good from now on)

    Thanks fot answering my enquries. Much appreciation.

  81. Steve E.

    Related to the bareback transexual prostitute incident 2 plus weeks ago now the apparent sinus infection has caused ear pain and swelling. Please tell me this is not a known or sign of ARS? Still freaking out over here with reading posts online.

    • drtan

      Not a sign of ARS. Stop freaking out and stop reading crap online.

  82. Morgan

    Hi Dr Tan, I had protected sex nearly a month ago. Now im getting a sore throat of sorts. its not that bad until i spit green phlegm or i can’t speak. Just developed a sore throat today. Do u think its ARS? I think I caught a cold too. how long does the sore throat last on average for a HIV one?

    • drtan

      No fever no rash just a sore throat? You are over-reacting. Not ARS.

  83. Steve E.

    Persistant cough and sinus infection which a doctor labeled as upper respiratory infection. This is not any type of the ARS symptoms correct?

  84. hi, i had protected sex about 4 weeks ago, now developing slight fever of 37.4, have sore throat and occasional running nose. does this sound like ARS symptoms? its nowhere as serious as described: can’t get off my bed because im so sick.

  85. Thompson

    Hi
    2 parts to this question
    14 days ago I visited a strip club, the girls there may or may not be sex workers.
    I had a lap dance , the girl from memory left her underwear on, I had suit pants on but the very tip of my penis may of been slightly exposed above my pants for a short time.

    There was a lot of cloth ps cloth grinding which i know is no risk but What are the chance of infection IF her wet underwear touched the tipof my penis, or if her genitsls did. Would risk be increased if she had her period (Am very sure she didmt.) There was def no penetration

    The reason I ask is that 7 days after exposure I was nauseous for 1 day, 12 days after exposure I developed a stiff neck, after 14 days it is still stiff and the nausea is back,

    No rash, fever, sore throat but severe anxiety

    2nd question is – could stiff neck at 12 days and nausea at 7 then again at ARS? I’ve read stiff neck is a big sign of ars?

  86. Thompson

    Hi
    2 Questions please

    14 days ago i went to a strip club, the girls who work there may or may not be sex workers, i had a lap dance with a girl, from what i remember her underwear remained on the whole dance, there was a lot of cloth to cloth grinding – i had suit pants on but the very tip of my penis may have slightly been above the top of my pants for a short time hence exposed.

    Question 1-what is the chance of infection if her underwear touched the tip of my penis – is there a chance vaginal fluid could of got in? Also if her genitals touched the tip of my penis could that cause a possible exposure?
    There was definitly no penetration.

    The reason I am concerned is that 7 days after the incident i was very nauseous for 12 hours, then 12 days after the incident i got a very sore neck – it is still sore now (14 days) and today i was nauseous again. I do not have rash, fever, sore throat but have very high anxiety.

    Question 2 – is nausea at 7 and 14 days, with a stiff neck at 12-14 days a sign of ARS? Or if you forget the nausea is a sore neck at 12-14 days a bad sign? I have heard a stiff/sore neck is a strong indication of ARS? I have never had a sore neck in the past.

    Could you please answer?

    Thank you

    • drtan

      1. Even if that happened there is still no risk of HIV infection. 2. Does not sound like ARS at all. Relax man, I think you are being unnecessarily worried.

  87. I am really worried I had oral sex with an old boyfriend and he came in my mouth and I swallowed. The next day I ended up with chivers non stop and feeling cold and my mouth is all white presumably with frush. Now I’m concerned if ism HIV.

    • Hi Emma,

      Most studies agree that the risk of getting HIV from oral sex (protected or otherwise) is theoretically possible but negligible. You may however contract other STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis. Please speak to a doctor for further details. You may also want to consider HIV testing for reassurance.

  88. Steve E.

    Persistent cough that has not responded to any meds over a week plus with the sinus issue better than before. Is this mainly dry sometimes wheezing cough in any way related to the ARS?

    • Hi Steve,

      Your symptoms seem to suggest a nastier than usual bout of sinusitis with resultant lower respiratory tract inflammation. They do not sound suggestive of ARS. I’d advise you to get tested for HIV to put the worry out of mind once and for all. You can refer to our article on the different HIV tests available for more info.

  89. Thompson

    Hi
    Can you please tell me what the ARS rash look like?
    Does it look like small red pimples on the chest, some having white heads? They are mainly around the chest area, nothing on the neck, arms, face or lower stomach?

  90. Dr .Tan
    How would foculittis present itself in Hiv infection would it be one hair bump or boilthat is reoccurring or a series of hair bumps or boils.

    Thanks for your input

  91. Thompson

    Sorry – final question

    Yesterday I developed diarrhea and it is still persisting today, last night I had a mild fever – temperature was 37.4c – 38c at its worst but was back to normal (36.9c) when I woke up this morning.

    Could a mild temperature for 6-8 hours (then back to normal) and persistent diarrhea be a sign of ARS?

  92. maria

    tiny fluid filled bumps which turned red after picking (looked like a rash) on top of hands 3 weeks after unprotected sex. the rash went after 2 weeks straight away when treated with a steroid ointment. No other symptoms, can a rash alone be caused by ARS? timing has made me very worried

    • drtan

      Your symptoms sound nothing like ARS. However, it would still be prudent of you to screen for HIV and STDs.

  93. tomorrow

    Hey doc, say your hand has a tiny wound, and u gave a guy a handjob, isit possible for a risk of infection if he came on your hand?
    Thanks.

  94. rohan

    hello sir

    i had unprotected sex with a sex worker i was drunked that time this is happen April 30 i dont have fever , runny nose,
    but i have small rash its non itchy not pain full. its not bump or not like pimple on my trunk below chest little only one single rash. i dont have swollen lymph nodes,
    but i feel my throat bitter . i dont have worst fever or i dont have rashes on multiple areas . like what u say above i dont after 30 days on may 30 i did test its negative after i see rash on my trunk. but am a smoker and i chew tobacco my hands and legs sometimes its pain its before to i have this problem last one year to i guess its because i smoke and chew tobacco and the next my point does i have hiv because i had that rash on i shown doctor skin specialist he said its not ars rash . but he said ars rash is fully itchy and its come on multiple areas like how u said am from india here doctor not so good i stay in village , now please help me now its 6 week rash cure ready but have mark like brown doctor said i think there something bite, now what u guess i have hiv or not. please help me sir

    • drtan

      Your symptoms do not sound like HIV ARS. Get a repeat HIV test at 3 months.

  95. Hi Doctor,

    PLEASE HELP

    I have sex with a shemale. Protected throughout.. I think a week after to 2 weeks I got painless swollen lymph nodes only in my neck. I had no other symptons until the 3rd week which was a small rash on my chest beside my nipple, not an inch in diameter and one on my rib cage. The doc diagnosed me with shingles.

    I am getting tested. Could I be at riskof ARS..

    Please reply

    • Dr Elaine Loh

      As I am not able to see your rash, I am not able to comment much regarding the rash. If it is truly shingles, It is not uncommon to get swollen lymph nodes around the neck, which are tender most of the time.
      Condoms are 87-95% effective in protecting against HIV. However, your exposure seems risky. Hence, I suggest you should get tested. The earliest test you can do is the HIV combo test which will be conclusive at 28 days post exposure.

  96. Hannah

    Hi dr.
    About ten days ago I got my belly button pierced. Everything at the tattoo parlor seemed clean. No needles were reused they came out of a fresh package. I saw every surface get wiped down and the dude who pierced me wore new gloves. A coulple of days after the piercing I came down with severe anxiety over hiv. It’s so scary to me! I didn’t see the dude do anything wrong like I said everything was clean. I even had my sister as a witness.
    Now to my point, I have been having some sharp muscle pain and a weird pressure headache for a couple of days now. About four weeks so I actually did have a cold so I have been dealing with sinus drainage. Just a couple of days ago (day 8 after piercing was done) my throat is a little swollen and it is difficult to swallow. I’m thinking this is because of post nasal drop but I can’t help that I have a phobia of getting hiv. Does any of these “symptoms” sound like they could be ads symptoms? And do I still need to be tested even though everything at the tattoo parlor was clean and not reused?
    Thanks

    • Hi Hannah,

      It seems you’re suffering more from anxiety. Your symptoms and their timing are not suggestive of ARS. You may want to speak to a doctor about your symptoms, particularly if you’re suspecting postnatal blues. HIV testing may help reassure you but if sterile equipment was used, I don’t think you are at risk.

  97. Michael

    Hello there, First of all thank you for you post, I’ve found it to be very calming as i’ve been worked up pretty bad.

    I had protected sex from a sex worker in a legal establishment whilst on holiday just over a week ago. Haven’t had a serious symptoms except a little fatigue, slight ill feeling a couple of days after the holiday (gone now) and a strange tingling, numb feeling in my lower legs which came on a couple of days ago and finding it irritating but not painful.
    Nothing else.

    I’ve managed to work myself up into a few states in spite of these lack of symptoms, could you just put my mind at ease regarding this.

    Thanks.

    • Michael

      just like to add…

      No kissing took place
      No Fingering either
      Sexual contact what so ever with out a condom present.
      She even gave me a BJ with the condom on.

      • I do not want to belittle your concerns, but honestly I think you are severely over-reacting to your symptoms. They sound nothing like ARS. Also, your exposure puts you at negligible risk of HIV.

        • DENDET

          God Bless you Dr Tan. We definitely need more selfless people like you in the world.

          Keep doing Good, that’s the only dept we owe to humanity

  98. hi, sir
    to make it short and simple
    1. i had 7 times protected sex with sex workers from march to may . the last time was 2 june .

    2.starting from this week, i found some red dots on my chest n back , some of them turn black like a moles.

    3. i had no fever till today .

    question :
    1. am i at high risk of exposure ?
    2. does my symptoms look like ARS ?
    3. do i need to get tested? if so, when?
    4. if i were to do test at ur clinic , can i have the contact details.

    thanks for your time,sir.

  99. Phil Mac

    Hi Dr Tan
    I got a negative combo test after 28 days, then again after 60 days – how accurate is this test?

    This sounds very paranoid but can you please answer – after the blood sample was taken by the nurse i noticed that he disposed the needle in the sanitary container, when he put the plaster over the wound his gloves touched the gauze on the plaster – is there anyway that old blood could of touched he gloves when disposing of the needle and then gone onto the plaster that then touched my blood test wound – could hiv get into my blood stream if it somehow got onto his glove then the plaster?

    Feeling relieved with the result but would be great if you could answer

    • Your tests are conclusive. And yes I think you are being paranoid. Stop looking for reasons to scare yourself.

  100. Phil Mac

    Sorry- 2nd test was at 75 days – both negative – how accurate is this

  101. Dear doctor

    Will I be infected via unprotected oral sex?
    Note: insertive ( being suck )

    • Hi David,

      The chances of catching HIV by receiving oral sex is extremely low. However, you may catch other diseases such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. You may wish to see a doctor to speak further about relevant testing and treatment (if necessary).

      • Dear doctor
        Have you ever meet someone infected hiv by oral sex?

      • By the way, what does doctor mean by “if necessary”?

        • Hi David,
          To clarify: if there are symptoms or test results suggestive of having an STI like chlamydia for example you will need to take a course of antibiotics.

          Hope that helps

          • Thx for your advice doctor

            My exposure was three month ago. Don’t know why I just feel very anxiety. Even cause me to insonmania.

            Sometime I have some red dot on my arm which disappear in a fews day, does it related to hiv ?

            Lastly, could doctor advice me that do you ever meet someone to infected hiv via oral sex?

            Thank for your help doctor, I really appreciated.

          • Hi David,

            Your rash does not sound anything like ARS at all. As I’ve stated previously, it is practically impossible to get HIV from oral sex. I’ve yet to meet someone who has. Please do consider consulting someone if your anxiety is causing you so much distress.

  102. Dear doctor

    By the way, does you ever have patients who infected hiv via oral sex?

  103. Hi Dr Tan

    I had unprotected oral sex and protected sex 1 month ago.
    Last week I had a fever at 38⁰C and felt very cold and my body was aching.
    but this only lasted for 1 night after I took the medicine from GP.
    Is this the symptoms that I am infected with HIV?

    • Hi Alan,

      There’s really not enough to go on to say. You may be at the start of ARS or it could just be a cold. I’d suggest you get a P24 combo test done to rule out HIV if it concerns you.

  104. rajesh

    Dear Doc,

    Hi,

    6 weeks back I had protected vaginal sex and condom tore in the middle of action mostly I gave 5 to 10 shots without protection in this time, I removed my penis and inserted new condom and continued. Prostitute said as she is not having any diseases I can continue without condom also. She will get her tested every 2 months. I am not sure on her words.

    after 4 weeks I was feeling mild Pelvic pain not persistent, no headache, no rashes, no white patches in mouth. I got my Scrutal Doppler and urine analysis done Doctor said Grade 1 Varicocele. I had an itching throat for a week with a minor pain in neck below the jaws. I checked with ENT specialist he mentioned minor injury and infection and because of stress I am worried no need to worry. I still have the pain near stemocleidomastoid I can feel the sore with my hand not during eating, breathing or swallowing.

    after 6 weeks, I am having very itchy skin in my back in a particular area , apart from that I have minor skin rashes on Hand and stomach which come and go in 2 or 3 days.

    Is it any symptoms of ARS ? or any STD’s ? what is the Risk associated based on the act and my health condition.
    I daily do a brisk walk for 30mins I dont feel any fatigue and all, I am able to eat properly.

    I am basically from India.

    Thanks!!!

    • Hi Rajesh,

      Your symptoms do not sound like ARS. However, I’d advise you to get tested for STIs + HIV given the nature of your exposure

  105. Hi Dr. Tan,
    I tested for HIV 4 times (At 7, 19, 22 and finally 28 after expusure to be conclusive). All these results were negative, but now at the 30 day after exposure, I felt a pea sized lymph node under my left ear. Do you think that hasn’t relation with ARS? Can I believe in my last test result?
    Thanks a lot.

    • All these tests were HIV Combo (p24 and antibodies).

    • As far as my opinion goes, your tests are already conclusive.

      • For you, my results are conclusive even with 2 lymph nodes (very little, less than size of pea)in the neck? Thank you for your attention, Dr. Tan.

  106. I had sex with an prostitute for about 3 weeks ago. And only few days again I started to have frequent running nose and only last night I had cold fever. My temp was 37.4. The fever lasted for a day and Im recovering but I’m getting cold sweats and few red dots on my neck and collar. Do you think I’m infected with Hiv? Really appreciate for your advice. Thanks you..

    • Whether or not you are infected no one knows until you get tested. What I can say now is that your symptoms do not sound typical of HIV ARS.

  107. Dear doctor

    How long will hiv last?
    Will it last for months?

  108. Sorry there is a typo error

    Dear doctor

    How long will hiv skin rash last?
    Will it last for months?

    • 1 to 4 weeks. Usually about 2 weeks. You are talking about eh ARS rash right?

      • Yeah
        Because I have some skin rash this three month
        Often come and go in a few day
        And about three of it last for month.
        Most of them look different. And always a few one time.
        Will anxiety caused skin rash?

  109. Dear Doc,

    I’ve had a Combo test at 28 days and its negative. However, would consuming medications such as Anarex and Antibiotics affect the result? Thanks…

  110. Dear Doctor Tan,

    Firstly I would like to thank you for being so helpful and providing such valuable insight to the users on this forum.

    My question arises from an encounter I had with two separate partners. Below describes my encounters:

    1. On June 6, I had oral sex with a male. There was no ejaculation involved and this oral sex was both insertive and receptive (we both “sucked” each other). No condom was used.

    2. On June 7 I had unprotected vaginal sex with a woman that is an acquaintance but not really a close friend. We had sex twice and ejaculated inside her. I also performed oral sex on her vagina and anus. I later found out that this woman is rather promiscuous in her sexual life.

    Stating the following Wednesday, (June 11) I started having a mild sore throat. By Friday the sore throat was terrible. On the weekend I was weak and bedridden with a mild intermittent fever (ranging between ~37.6-38.1).

    I’ve been progressively getting worse in terms of symptoms. My other symptoms include productive cough with yellow/green phlegm, headache, fatigue, sore throat (no visible ulcers) and stuffy nose.

    First question: Given the nature of my recent sexual encounters with these two people, could the above-referenced symptoms be suggestive of primary or acute HIV infection? Please take note that the symptoms began very early (5 days later but have now become worse as I am approaching the 2 week mark).

    Second question, was the oral sex with the gay man a “high risk” to transmit HIV?

    Final question: If you don’t think this is suggestive of primary HIV, what would be the differential diagnosis?

    Thank you very much for your time and condor.
    Sean

    • 1. You are right. The symptoms came on too early to be due to HIV ARS. 2. Not at all. 3. This is something you need to see a doctor about. We cannot provide medical advice online.

  111. Hi Doc,

    I had from what I remember, protected oral from a prostitute in Spain, then an unprotected hand job. I did not cum, but was lying naked on a pretty dirty prostitute bed.

    10 days later I am experiencing a slight cough, slightly swollen tonsils alternating each day and infrequent dull pains in my triceps, right armpit and sometimes the back if my knees, and groin.

    I was tested as soon as I returned, 4 days later, but I know I will need to get tested again later on.

    Does this sound like potential ARS?

    Many thanks

    K

    • Not at all. Anyway I do not think you were at risk in the first place.

    • Hi K,

      Your symptoms don’t sound like ARS and protected oral sex is very low risk for transmitting HIV but you’re right in that you have to repeat a test for meaningful results. You can either do a Combo p24 Ag/Ab test at 28 days from the point of exposure or an antibody test 3 months from the point of exposure.

  112. Nobunaga

    Dear sir ,
    Can you tell me about “Musculo-Skeletal – Muscle aches, Joint aches” in the early symptoms of HIV infection.
    Thanks so much .

    • Muscle and joints aches are much too non-specific to be discussed. Everyone who is anyone will get some muscle and joint aches now and then. There is no way we can accurately link it back to HIV.

      • Nobunaga

        Thanks for your answer,
        Does “Musculo-Skeletal – Muscle aches, Joint aches” go with Lymph Nodes? I read a lot of document , but they said “Muscle aches, Joint aches”, they don’t say anything else,. i’m very worry.
        Can you tell me something you know about “Musculo-Skeletal – Muscle aches, Joint aches”.

      • Nobunaga

        Thanks for your answer,
        Does “Muscle aches, Joint aches” go with Lymph Nodes? I read a lot of document , but they said “Muscle aches, Joint aches”, they don’t say anything else,. i’m very worry.
        Can you tell me something you know about “Musculo-Skeletal – Muscle aches, Joint aches”.

  113. Tom ryanz

    Hi Dr Tan,

    If 1 week/8 days after possible exposure, I got a sore throat and a slight fever, but both were not severe and lasted for a few days. I then had a blocked nose a few days later and for a few days. Then at a week and a half I got diharrea which lasted for around a week. I didn’t have a rash or any noticeable swelling of lymph nodes.

    I was also quite anxious immediately after the possible exposure (I don’t know whether he had hiv or not). I know I have to get tested but I want to be confident before I do that, as I don’t know what I would do if I’m positive.

    Thank you

  114. Michel

    hi DR

    I had unprotected vaginal sex 1 month ago.
    Last week I had a bad diarrhea for 5 days ans white Tongue
    my doctor said i got Sore Throat too and i surprised because there was no problem in Swallowing ..no fever and normal wbc..

    I am worried because it appeared after 3 weeks

    Is this the symptoms that I am infected with HIV?
    Does this sound like ARS symptoms

    • Diarrhea and sore throat are both possible ARS symptoms. However, they can also be symptoms of many other illnesses. Since you are at 1 month post exposure you should just go get a HIV combo test done.

      • thanx dr for reply,,

        we haven’t this test in our country just ICTs AND ELISA..
        my question is does WBC may be normal when ARS appear..?
        and will diarrhea be a general symptom ?

        thanx again

        • WBC is not an indicator of HIV infection. Diarrhea can be a symptom of ARS but is too general to be useful.

          • Michel

            thanx DR for ur help..
            i make ur advice and make my first test ELISA (HIV-HCV-HBSAG-TPA-VDRL)
            ALL NEGATIVE (AFTER 30 DAYS FROM EXPOSURE AND 2 WEEKS ARS ) .. ITS GOOD ?? BUT I STILL HAVE A DIARRHEA AND tonsillitis AM IN 3RD WEEK..

            WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THIS

          • Your tests are very indicative but you need to repeat them at 3 months to be 100% sure.

  115. Hi Dr.

    Last week one call girl did a hand job for me. I was protected before teh hand job, but I had kissed th elady’s neck 2-3 times and also touched her buck side. Now I am really worried whether I am in risk? Is it any chance to getting HIV through hand jobs or kissing on body or by touching?
    Please advise.

    Thanks
    PMP

    • vikram

      Hello doctor your services to help people like us is rrally appreciated..on june 13th i had sexual encounter with a prostitute that lasted just a minute or two..i had worn a condom and penetrated inside her..after penetration when i rwmoved my condom i saw 2-3 blood drops on foreskin of tip of my penis..it was burning also..i was very scared at that time..i dont know whether the blood drops are mine or of that sex worker..a cut or bruise on foreskin or tip of penis is sufficient for these 2 -3 blood drops to entrr ? After 4 days i have got sore throat cough and mild fever which never went Above 37.3 degrers..many say that tHis temperature is normal..mstill having sore throat and cough problem..today its 23rd june 10 days after exposure i have got swollen lymph node on right side of my neck..m really freaked out..can ars symptoms occur this much early in 10 days?and what is the risk of my exposure?kindly help

      • Hi Vikram,

        Please post your questions as a new comment and not as a reply to another user’s comment to avoid confusion. Thank you

    • Hi pmp,

      Kissing and casual skin contact have no risk of HIV transmission. You don’t have to worry.

  116. leesin

    Hi Dr.Tan
    I have a risk when having unprotected sex. After four days, I have fever, muscle pain, rash, armpit pain both sides, not rash. Is HIV ARS?
    thank Dr.tan

  117. Hi Doc,
    I had unprotected sex 2-3 weeks ago – high risk exposure. I had experience fever and dry / sore throat. Is this ARS or it could be a common cold I caught?
    Tx for reading.

  118. Scared of HIV

    Hi Dr, Thanks for your assistance in this in advance. I had a protected sex with a sex worked in Dubai. Condom didn’t broke. But she but removed my condom by using paper tissues and wiped my penis with tissues.

    Exactly on 54th day (8th week),I had a sinus drainage so Dr. gave me allergy tabs. When I took those tabs, I had RLS in that evening and night only. since next day, I have mild tingling and numbness in legs and arms. Specially, when I wake up in the morning. These are due to Anxiety or ARS. Kindly advise. I have no chance to take HIV test for another 2 months.

    • Scared of HIV

      just add few more info to above, I have also had like little shock pain in thighs, hand and my butts and back. It was present for only 1-2 days. After 2 weeks, all the symptoms were gone. Really confused, if they are present due to my Anxiety or ARS. Your advise is the most valuable thing I need at this moment.

      Thanks in advance.

      • As we have discussed on our previous article on HIV symptoms, you cannot determine if you are infected with HIV or not based on your symptoms. You still need a HIV test. That said, my opinion is that your symptoms do not sound like they are due to HIV ARS at all.

        • Scared of HIV

          Many thanks for your advise Doctor. As I am in a remote site, I can only do a checkup after 2 months. So still I have to run these days in a hell until then. But your opinion is something that allowing me to relax. Just to clarify, is ARS symptoms will be present in 8th week? I thought it will start (normally) only between 2-6 weeks.
          Once again thanks for your kindness to answer people like us. In last 3 months, I have searching about symptoms in Internet and put myself in trouble. But finally, I came to the correct place, I guess.

  119. vikram

    Hello doctor your services to help people like us is rrally appreciated..on june 13th i had sexual encounter with a prostitute that lasted just a minute or two..i had worn a condom and penetrated inside her..after penetration when i rwmoved my condom i saw 2-3 blood drops on foreskin of tip of my penis..it was burning also..i was very scared at that time..i dont know whether the blood drops are mine or of that sex worker..a cut or bruise on foreskin or tip of penis is sufficient for these 2 -3 blood drops to entrr ? After 4 days i have got sore throat cough and mild fever which never went Above 37.3 degrers..many say that tHis temperature is normal..mstill having sore throat and cough problem..today its 23rd june 10 days after exposure i have got swollen lymph node on right side of my neck..today its 13th day after exposure m having pain in my back and knees…m really freaked out..can ars symptoms occur this much early in 10-13 days?and what is the risk of my exposure?kindly help

    • Your symptoms are too early to be due to HIV ARS. Wait until 1 month post exposure then get yourself screened for HIV and all other STDs.

      • vikram

        Thank you dr tan for the reply but according to you how much risky my sexual.encounter was?today its 14th day after sexual encounter..my toes and knees are paining from last 3 days..

  120. vikram

    Dr tan kindly letme know the risk i had with my sexual activity..today its 14th day i.have got knee pain and pain in toes of my right leg..its like stiffed..kindly letme know how much risk i.had for hiv

  121. Hi Dr.Tan
    I have to tetanus vaccine and tetanus serum injection.
    The vaccination process. Subsequently, nurses use needles that are 0.1 serum test. So that serum vial of my blood on the nurse when she tried serum? And if so, can the HIV virus survive in there?
    Unfortunately for me. After fifteen minutes, I injected into the serum bottle out of my new replacement nurse mistakenly injected shift of the serum vials after me. So I have no risk of HIV infection? Because the process is finished the needle vaccination serologic testing is always the other person.
    Four days after injection, my fever, sore throat, muscle aches, itchy skin, headaches, swollen lymph nodes groin armpits neck, not rash, fatigue. Not knowing this may be a sign Arsenal?
    Thanks in advance Dr.Tan

  122. Hi Doctor,
    I was at the library the other day, and I went to the bathroom to wash my face. Then I used a tissue to wipe my face but later on discovered a drip of blood the size of a grain of rice on it. I kinda wiped the corner of my eyes by accident.

    Two weeks later I had these bumps that looked like mosquito bites on one of my inner thigh. They do not itch, but only appear on my inner thigh. I contacted my doc, and he told me it’s eczema, but can eczema be non-itchy?

    I did not have severe fever however, just sore throats(they last for a day at most, comes and goes), no painful joints, but I was coughing and sick for a month. It’s hard to clarify since I caught a cold before the incident, and it never healed.

    Doctor, I’m extremely concerned since I searched the page and there were cases of Hiv being passed through eyes or mucous membranes. Am I at risk??

  123. Worried

    Dr. Thank you very much for your through explanations. I believe I have a unique case and thought I’d contact you.

    A few weeks ago, I engaged in unprotected sex and a couple of weeks ago, I started having symptoms like high fever, night sweat, cough, sore throat, swollen lymph, and body ache. I was very sick for about two days, and after that, I went to a doctor and got diagnosed with strep throat. I started taking antibiotics as it was prescribed. I felt better after a few days and forgot to take the rest of the pills, which was about 2 days before competing the regimen. About a week later, I developed same symptoms described above and revisited the doctor. I was once again diagnosed with strep throat, and this time, received antibiotic shot. This was two days ago.

    The pain in the throat and all other symptoms disappeared right away. But a few symptoms that are still lasting are: rashes on the front of calves (which have been there for weeks without spreading or feeling itchy), dry cough, and night sweat. Also about a week ago, my stool started being kind of runny and loose, not quite diarrhea.

    Could this simply be reoccurrence of strep throat, or should I be worried about ARS?

    • The kind of symptoms you described as well as the timing could indicate ARS. Or it might just be Strep Throat. Either way, you need a HIV test to be 100% sure.

  124. Hello, firstly thanks for your help. Exactly 3 weeks ago I performed mutual unprotected oral sex on an MSM (I am also MSM), of unknown status. It was deep throat and He came in my mouth and I didn’t spit it out right away, but rather let it sit in my mouth for a little while before spitting. No intercourse was performed.

    2-3 days after contact, I started having a site throat and mild fever.
    4-6 days after contact, my tongue turned white and fuzzy and I couldn’t taste anything, occompanied by dry mouth.
    7-10 days after contact I started feeling nausea 24/7, as well as a burning type sensation in the pit if my stomach and lungs (felt like I smoked a pack of cigarettes and I don’t smoke).
    2 weeks after contact, I started experience mild shooting pains in my armpits and lower-left back (spleen/liver area). Went to my doctor and he swabbed my throat (neg for strep) and gave me a shot and antibiotics for gonorhea&chlamydia in the event that I contracted those.
    3 weeks after contact, all symptoms are still present, with the white tongue and nausea seeming to get worse. Gonorhea&chlamydia antibiotics didn’t make me feel better. Went to another doctor and they took bloods (although I know it’s too early for HIV), and she said I had swollen lymph node in my neck. When my blood was being taken both the palms ofy hands turned blotchy and white which jas never happened before, as well as white bumps appeared all over my arms. this went away a few minutes after blood was taken. She said my temperature and blood pressure were fine. I was given an antibiotic (oxycycline) which I have been taking for 2 days and haven’t felt a difference.

    I am panicking a bit. 3 weeks and I still have all these symptoms including complete loss of appetite. I feel like I put myself at risk by deep throating and by having semen in my mouth for a prolonged period of time. As of yet I do not have fever, rash, or reoccurring headache.

    I am going to do a 4 week, 6 week and 3 month blood test no matter what, but the anxiety coupled with these occumulating symptoms are causing me a lot if distress. what is your opinion doctor?

    • I do not think your symptoms have anything to do with HIV. I also think you are not at any significant risk of contracting HIV. Do not worry.

  125. vikram

    Dr tan my knee pain,pain.in toes and palm,and back.pain isnt going from last 6 days..today its 16th day after exposure..kindly letme know this muscle pain is related to ars symptom?

  126. Hi Dr.Tan
    I went tetanus vaccination sera and vaccines.
    When injected, the nurse using a syringe and needle to inject the vaccine that test serum in vials of 0.1 me. So in that vial of blood when I do not share needles that?
    After fifteen minutes, I injected into the serum bottle is empty. One other nurse mistakenly injected another bottle for me. Then follow the same process as on the bottle that my blood of the other. Am I at risk of HIV infection or not?
    After four days, I have a slight fever that lasts more than eight days, muscle aches, sore throat, skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, mild diarrhea, weight loss, constant headache … Is ARS?
    Thank Dr.Tan

  127. Angus Li

    Hi doctor, please forgive my bad English
    So my situation is this, on the 30th of April I went to a massage centre, a massage lady who first gave me a full body massage with oil, she then wet kissed me for 7 seconds max, during the wet kiss my tongue was still in my mouth because I didn’t want to kiss her back. She then gave me a hand job to finish off.

    Then at week4 after the incident, I had running nose, blocked nose, sore throat and dry cough, I am quiet sure I didn’t have fever becauseo I cross border to China from Hong Kong everyday and the temperature machine would have alerted the people if I had a high fever. Other than those I didn’t have any other symptoms. I know the symptoms are cold like, but the strange thing is, I still have sore and itchy throat now and I think it is week 8 after the incident now, I am not sure what’s going on with my throat, everytime I think it is healed, a little bit of cold drinks, spicy, sweep fried foods and trigger the itchy and sore throat again. Doctor could you please tell me what is going on? I am so nervous…

    One more question is, can wet kissing cause HIV infection, most of the trusted web sites said it is impossible to happen because you will need a mass mouth or a very bad oral hygiene, and tons of blood to get infected, small cuts inside the mouth or on the lips would not get infected, is this true Doctor, I trust your professional opinion, thanks!!

    • Hi Angus,

      It is theoretically possible but very unlikely you can get HIV from wet kissing. The CDC considers it an zero risk and I have to agree with that. With regards to your symptoms, it sounds like you have a simple cold. I’d advise you to see a doctor and get some medications.

      • Angus Li

        Hi Dr.Kumar

        Thank you so much for your instant reply, I already saw a doctor 2 weeks ago, I was feeling better after the medication, but then I ate some spicy foods and cold drinks not long after the full medications, but then the itchy and sore throat comes back again, it really troubles me a lot, do you think it has absolutely no relations to the Ars symptoms? Thanks a lot!

        • Hi Angus,

          You’re describing a very common throat complaint. Very often, the throat remains sensitive some time after the initial infection and fried, spicy foods or cold drinks can trigger off the irritation again. This has nothing to do with ARS. Don’t worry.

  128. vikram

    Doctor i didnt got your answer..muscle pain are too general A symptom to be useful means? I havent got any other symptom rather than sore throat which my doc told its viral pharyngites.. but knee pain in my right leg and toe of right leg are having constant mild pain from 6-7 days..

    • Hi Vikram,

      Your knee and toe pain are very unlikely to be from ARS. Additionally, you cannot diagnose or exclude HIV based on symptoms alone. The only way to tell is to test. I’d advise you to speak to a doctor about getting tested. Please read this article for an idea of the different tests available and the recommended timings for them.

  129. Good day sir,
    I had unprotected sex about nearly 2weeks ago, I have been having dry cough before then though. But now I have swollen glands in my neck and groin..they are painless unless I press, then it gives me slight pain. Out of curiosity, I did an hiv home antibodies test and it came negative so far. What should I do sir? Am scared of the swollen glands. I pray its not hiv cause I really really love my girl and will never cheat on her till I die again

  130. vikram

    Thank you dr prem for the valuable advice..its still 17 days from the exposure so still i have to wait for 1 month for good indicator testing right?according to u how much risk is there from my encounter?i got sore throat and mild fever also but that were on 7th day from exposure..too early for ars right?

    • Your need to wait for 1 month, correct.

      Condoms are quite good at preventing transmission of HIV. However nothing is 100% effective. I’d say that you have a low- moderate risk of transmission. Just be patient and get yourself tested at the 1 month mark. Try not to get too freaked out by any symptoms in between. Should something seriously trouble you, visit your doctor to discuss with them.

  131. Good day sir,
    I had unprotected sex about nearly 2weeks ago, I have been having dry cough before then though. But now I have swollen glands in my neck and groin..they are painless unless I press, then it gives me slight pain. Out of curiosity, I did an hiv home antibodies test and it came negative so far. What should I do sir? Am scared of the swollen glands. I pray its not hiv cause I really really love my girl and will never cheat on her till I die again….And in addition sir, I don’t know if its anxiety, but even if I don’t have the symptoms you stated above for ARS…I just start checking for them on myself….- have cried and prayed hoping I am not positive…thanks for your time sir. Your advice will really save me from insanity

    • Hi Tex,

      2 weeks is too early for antibody detection. I’d advise you to get a 4th Gen combination test done 28 days post exposure. You might want to see a doctor about your symptoms. It’s possible you may have contracted an STI and may need treatment.

      • Thanks Dr Prem Kumar,
        I also noticed slight headaches and little muscle aches and such.I don’t know if its my anxiety or curiosity but that is how is feel doctor…And Doctor, my swollen lymph glands in d neck has dramatically disaspeared in just 2days and rubbing heatbalm on it and taking Andolex-C, the swollen lymphs node that appeared on my neck does not feel like a pea or anything .I just felt a cluster of muscles there and it was soft not hard. Do these symptoms relate to ars or hiv virus?

        • Hi Tex,

          It’s impossible to tell if your symptoms are from ARS or due to anxiety. It’s also similarly impossible to diagnose HIV based on the presence, absence or duration of the symptoms. Right now I’d advised you to get medications and treatments for the symptoms that bother you and get yourself tested at the appropriate interval

  132. ramus

    Hi dr.Tan
    HIV virus can live in tetanus serum vials are not?
    After four days when mistakenly injected serum vial of the other. I have a slight fever lasting, itchy skin, coughing, sore throat, headache, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, muscle pain ten days. Is that ARS?

  133. vikram

    Thank you for the reply and advices doctor..yesterday i did my complete blood count in which it showed that my lymphocytes are 56% normal range is 15-45% and neutrophils are 37 % normal range is 40-75 %..and my total wbc count was 10800..my doctor told me your lymphocytes are increased and neutrophils decreased because of viral infection in your body and your body is fighting against it..m really freaked out :( kindly letme know your advice

    • CBCs are not diagnostic for HIV infection. Your doctor is describing a white cell shift common in ALL viral infections such as coughs, colds etc. Stop worrying and get your HIV testing done at the recommended interval.

  134. vikram

    Ok doctor thank you so much..many viral infections apart from hiv can elevate the figures right?

    • Yes, any viral infection can cause the changes your doctor described. So relax and just get yourself tested at the right juncture.

  135. lesin

    Hi Dr.Tan
    I have tested the blood formula MCV, MCH increase the limit.
    HIV virus attacking me?

  136. Hi Dr Tan,
    I had protected vaginal and oral sex slightly under 8 wks ago with a commercial. But was still worried so I took tests. Tested negative for chlamydia and gonorroea through urinalysis, negative result aft 5 wks (35 days exactly) exposure using 4th Gen ELISA test (antibody + p24 antigen via fingerprick). My question is regarding swollen lymph nodes – u mentioned that lymph nodes can be felt in thin people even if they aren’t swollen. How would they feel to the touch? I am relatively skinny, and I seem to be able to feel lymph nodes on both sides of my neck (unsure about others as I’m not sure how to check them). I currently have a mouth ulcer which only formed when I bit onto it while eating, and no other signs of ARS other than a slight blocked nose, which again I’m unsure is related given what you’ve mentioned in your article.

    Do I have any cause for worry based on my test results and probable symptoms? Mainly just worried about the lymph nodes portion.

    Thank you.

  137. vikram

    Ok doctor thank you so much for the valuable advice….one last wuestion do all ars symptoms come together?…because first i had sore throat..my doc told it was viral pharyngites..after that i got a low grade fever of around 37.3 degrees..which according to many experts is not even counted as fever..i had runny nose was sneezing..then lastly i got muscle pain..only in one leg..in my knee of right leg and in feet..i havent got lymph nodes rashes nightsweats and all..do these sound like ars ymptomd?

  138. David

    Will the kaposi skin rash appear after two or three month of exposure ?

  139. choke

    Hi Dr.Tan
    After seven days at risk, I have a slight fever, headache, sore throat, itchy skin, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue than ten days.
    ARS is HIV?

  140. I have a question. I had protected sex with someone and the condom broke. He had not ejaculated and pulled out immediately. Then I gave oral. H assured me he was free of STD s. I took an oraquick at home HIV test oral swab 6 1/2 weeks after exposure. How reliable is this test? Also another friend of mine to the same test and his came back positive. We had hung Oh prior to his test result and I ate off his already eaten pizza…and he has poor dental hygiene. I’ve been experienceing on. And off symptoms and am just wondering if my anxiety is taking over. Can u please offer a risk

    • drtan

      I’ll do the easy one first. You cannot catch HIV from sharing food. So there is absolutely 100% no way you can catch HIV from sharing a pizza with your HIV +ve friend. I really hope you do not stop hanging out with him because of his status. Now for the first scenario. Assuming he was HIV +ve, your risk of catching HIV is about 0.5% to 1%. The OraQuick test at 6.5 weeks post exposure is very accurate. However, you’ll need to repeat it at 3 months to be 100% sure. You should also screen for other STDs like Chlamydia which if left untreated can lead to infertility.

  141. Assessment. Of both instances. Thank u for all that you do.

  142. Aaron

    On the early morning of June 14th I had unprotected vaginal intercourse with a random girl in Vegas(just a vacationer…not a hooker) . 5 days later on Thursday I woke up with swollen lymph nodes in my neck, diarrhea(lasted 4 days), one small canker sore in my mouth( lasted 3 days) , and just felt out of it. I got all the std test done besides HIV because it was to soon to get tested for it and everything came up negative. Today, about 2 weeks later my lymph nodes in my neck are still a little swollen but the lymph nodes in my groin area on both sides swelled up this morning. I’ve also noticed bleeding gums…. My question is are the initial symptoms that I had 5 days after the unprotected sex to soon for ARS? I’ve seen some doctors online state that the lymph nodes can swell up very soon after possible exposure to hiv

    -the girl who I had sex with was tested last October and was clean. She’s not aware of being infected
    -haven’t got a fever, headache, or rash

    • Aaron

      And thank you soooooo much for your answers!!! The anxiety levels when worrying about possible symptoms of ARS is extremely tiring and exhausting, you share the the best answers out of the million of websites I’ve been to!

    • drtan

      I do not think your symptoms are due to HIV ARS at all. Lymph nodes swell in response to a variety of reasons. Yours came on too soon to be due to HIV. Also, your other symptoms do not sound sinister. All in all, my bet (see the Vegas pun?) is that your symptoms are NOT due to HIV.

  143. David

    Dear doctor
    I didn get your reply so I repost my ques again.
    Will the kaposi skin rash appear after two or three month of exposure ?

    Thanks doc.

  144. vikram

    Dr kindly reply to my question..can muscle or joint pain commonly related with ars?because i.have got pain in my right ee,fingers and palm of both hands and ankles from last 12 days..and feeling extremely tired..i have got sorethroat 5 days after exposure my doc told its viral pharyngites and it got away in few days..my temperature also remained at around 36.9 to 37..just once it went at around 37.3..i havent got lymph nodes or rashes yet..i m.just worried right now as my muscle paun and fatigue isnt going away..kindly advice me

    • Hi Vikram,

      you’ve been told time and again your symptoms are unlikely to be ARS. You need to stop obsessing on them. Speak to your doctor about your fears and get tested at the appropriate juncture. Once you have a conclusive test you can rest assured once and for all.

  145. chase

    Hey doc.
    I am a quite worried , 21 year old male. A week ago I had unprotected vaginal intercourse with a female I knew very little about. Within 4 days I noticed one swollen and tender lymph node behind my ear. The next day I became so weak and nauseas , and everything I ate came right back up. Also a severe case of diarrhea. I was in bed and could hardly move , it was like nothing I have experienced. I did not have a noticeable fever or rash. My symptoms subsided within the next day. So my question is , is it possible for a person to have ARS that only last 2 days ? Can it come and finish within 7 days of infection ? I’ve had a negative antibody test but I know it’s too early to be accurate.

    • drtan

      No and no. Your symptoms are obviously not due to HIV ARS.

      • chase

        The woman in question insists that she had just got tested a month before the encounter. If she had recently contracted the virus herself is it possible that it would cause a faster onset of symptoms due to high viral load ? It just seems too coincidental that I got this illness within a week of this encounter.

        • drtan

          If she has a high viral load, it would increase the risk of you getting infected. It does not have any impact on the likelihood and rapidity of developing symptoms.

  146. Hi doc
    I had unprotected anal sex with female I took the condom off for the last 2 mins and after 12 days of exposure I got oral thrush and then at 18 days bad headaches with a feeling of ear fullness, I did a PCR test at 17 days and it came back negative.

    1. Do these sound like ars symptoms oral thrush ear fullness and bad headaches

    2. PCR test at 17 days after exposure conclusive or strong indication of a negative

    Thanks

  147. Also one more thing I started drinking black seed oil twice a day at around 10 days after exposure could that affect the PCR test at 17 days?
    As I’ve read black seed oil lowers hiv viral load

    Thanks again

    • drtan

      I do not know of any evidence that Black Seed Oil delays the window period of the PCR test.

  148. Hi Doctor,
    I had sexual intercourse 46 days before. It was protected vaginal sex and deep throat kissing. 2 weeks before I had minor joint pain and since last 5 days I have headache and dizziness. Does it sounds like ARS symptoms?

    • Hi Ram,

      It’s hard to say whether your symptoms are ARS or not. I’d advise you to get a rapid Combo test done to rule out HIV.

      • Can HIV spread via deep throat kissing?

          • One last question. Dizziness and headache appear after 6 weeks of possible exposure. Is it possible to have it that late?

          • Hi Ram,

            As mentioned previously, it’s hard to distinguish whether your symptoms are due to ARS or something else. The only way to rightly tell is by getting your test done for HIV. In the meantime, speak to a doctor if your symptoms are distressing you.

  149. Worried

    Hi Doctor,

    I have been having fever of 38.5 – 39 for the last five days. Fever goes down to 37 every time I take Ibuprofen and Nurofen. Other symptoms include bad body ache, and painful sore throat. No Rash or swollen glands as far as I can tell. Does this sound like ARS?

    I have had anal receptive sex with two different people in the last six weeks, however I think they were protected. I am still worried that the condom may have failed.

    Thanks

  150. Goodday my consistent doctors,
    My question is this.
    Is it possible for someone who just had unprotected sex and have symptoms swollen neck sort of tonsils, swollen nodes in his genitals,its winter and very cold so he also has a little dry cough, not all the time and his body temperature is 36.6 C, and feel cold here in his nose because its extremely cold out here, could that person be hiv positive?

    • Goodday my consistent doctors,
      My question is this.
      Is it possible for someone who just had unprotected sex and have symptoms such as swollen neck sort of tonsils, swollen nodes in his genitals,its winter and very cold so he also has a little dry cough, not all the time and his body temperature is 36.6 C, and feel cold air in his nose because its extremely cold out here, could that person be hiv positive? Or its juz the cold due to winter?

  151. I’m and 18 year old male and I had just lost my virginity 2 months ago unprotected (I was 17 at the time). This girl was my girlfriend for 3 months and definitely not a virgin and foolishly I wasn’t thinking. 3 Weeks after having sex I began to feel extremely fatigue, almost like a zombie, headaches, sore throat, night chills, and more. 4 days later the symptoms wouldn’t go away and it began to start burning when I urinated. I kept looking up symptoms scared as can be and found out the burning was only a symptom of bacterial infections. I did get tested the next day for everything (HIV and others) and was given medication for chlamydia and gonorrhea incase I did have them while I waited for results. I took the daily prescribed medicine every day until the 5th day where I got a phone call and I was told the chlamydia came out positive. I finished the medicine as I was supposed to for the next few days. Everything else came out negative and I’m aware that HIV doesn’t come out positive within the first month of exposure. If this girl did have anything, I’m almost positive she had just recently got it because she had cheated on me a week before. Now I’m extremely depressed and as I read more and more I get frightened every day. All these symptoms happened within the 2 to 6 week period that they are “supposed” to occur in and it’s killing me inside. I also did get tested again at the 6 week mark and it came out negative but I still have chlamydia for some reason? I took more medication for it as prescribed and I’m yet to test again.
    I am also having neck pains on the right side of my neck currently, but that may be because I haven’t left my bed in 7 days.
    Is it likely that I have HIV?
    I am also now having a sore throat and headaches again but I don’t know if symptoms come more than once.

  152. I’m and 18 year old male and I had just lost my virginity 2 months ago unprotected (I was 17 at the time). This girl was my girlfriend for 3 months and definitely not a virgin and foolishly I wasn’t thinking. 3 Weeks after having sex I began to feel extremely fatigue, almost like a zombie, headaches, sore throat, night chills, and more. 4 days later the symptoms wouldn’t go away and it began to start burning when I urinated. I kept looking up symptoms scared as can be and found out the burning was only a symptom of bacterial infections. I did get tested the next day for everything (HIV and others) and was given medication for chlamydia and gonorrhea incase I did have them while I waited for results. I took the daily prescribed medicine every day until the 5th day where I got a phone call and I was told the chlamydia came out positive. I finished the medicine as I was supposed to for the next few days. Everything else came out negative and I’m aware that HIV doesn’t come out positive within the first month of exposure. If this girl did have anything, I’m almost positive she had just recently got it because she had cheated on me a week before. I got tested again during the 6 week period and it was again negative, but chlamydia was still somehow positive? I did take medicine for it again and now I wait. Now I’m extremely depressed and as I read more and more I get frightened every day. All these symptoms happened within the 2 to 6 week period that they are “supposed” to occur in and it’s killing me inside.
    I am also having neck pains on the right side of my neck currently, but that may be because I haven’t left my bed in 7 days.
    Is it likely that I have HIV?
    I am also now having a sore throat and slight headaches again but I don’t know if symptoms come more than once.

    • Hi Tezy,

      Don’t feel dejected. You did the right thing by getting tested and treated for your symptoms. It’s good that your HIV test came back negative, but as you pointed out you will need a follow-up test at 3 months to be sure. Meanwhile don’t pay too much heed to the supposed “ARS” symptoms. No one can diagnose or exclude HIV based on the presence, absence or severity of symptoms alone. ARS is very often a retrospective diagnosis: that is you are only able to identify them as ARS after HIV testing is conclusively done. It’s quite common for patients in the meantime to chalk up a whole host of nonspecific symptoms (real and imagined) to ARS because of their worry and concern. Just be patient, get yourself tested at 3 months and then put this issue to rest once and for all.

      • Alright thanks Doc.
        The thing is I had these symptoms during the 3 week mark, but at that point I wasn’t even thinking about HIV or any STDs, I started to think about it at 4 weeks and now I’m looking back and realizing they came at the right time. After being treated for chlamydia, I had than looked back and realized the symptoms I already had were towards it.

  153. Hello, about 3 weeks ago I may have contacted HIV infected fluids on my hand that contained a 4 hour old paper cut. The HIV infected fluid was on an inanimate object that I picked up with that hand. I washed my hands with soap after putting the object down. Is there a risk that HIV entered the paper cut and led to infection? About 2.5 weeks after this incident, I started having a really mild sore throat. Is this a symptom of ARV?Thank you!

    • Hi Rht,

      What is your definition of HIV infected fluids? Was there fresh blood or serum from a known HIV+ source on the object? Were you handling lab samples that was accidentally exposed to a raw wound?

      Barring specific circumstances such as those above, I’d put your risk at 0. Paper cuts are very minute breaches of the epithelium and its unlikely that even if the fluid were from a known HIV + source there would be sufficient ingress for the particles to reach your circulatory stream. You can always choose to test for HIV to reassure yourself should you need to.

  154. Goodday my consistent doctors,
    My question is this.
    Is it possible for someone who just had unprotected sex and have symptoms such as swollen neck sort of tonsils, swollen nodes in his genitals,its winter and very cold so he also has a little dry cough, not all the time and his body temperature is 36.6 C, and feel cold air in his nose because its extremely cold out here, could that person be hiv positive? Or its juz the cold due to winter?

    • Nobody knows. We never use symptoms to determine a person’s HIV status. Your symptoms do not sound typically like HIV ARS but this does not mean you are not infected with HIV. The swollen nodes near your genitals could indicate the presence of other STDs.

  155. George

    I have develop rash after around 3 months of last protected sex with a prostitute. I did not have any flu like symptoms, fever, sore throat. I can feel a slight bump on my neck which is only 1 lumped nodes. Can I know if this is one of the sign of ars hiv?

    Thanks

    • George

      I have the same rashes before, but it went off 1 or 2 days later..I had seen a doctor with regards to the lympe node and was given antibodies. The lympe node was discover about 4 weeks ago. I have been measuring my temperature and consistently at 36.5, 36.3. Can I also know will the rashes develop before the fever that you mention in the post? Or rashes will only come after the fever? Please enlighten me. Thanks a lot for your post and your time taken to read they my question. Thanks again

      George

    • Hi George,

      It sounds unlikely. Since it’s been 3 months, you can always get yourself tested and be completely sure.

      • George

        Hi thanks doc, is there any test that will immediately show the result and is conclusive? As in within half a day, the result will be out?

        • Hi George,

          You can choose to do any of the rapid tests that are 3rd Gen onwards. As long as they test for antibodies, the results are conclusive after 3 months of exposure. You can read our article to see some examples of the relevant tests available locally.

          • George

            I did a rapid hiv test and came out negative.

  156. am I fine ??

    had a protected oral and a protected vaginal sex with a legal geylang csw on april 19 2014 . I developed fatigue in a week and also pharyngitis , sinusitis , fever(3days , not very high ) , chills at 3 weeks post exposure . Then I also had weakness and leg pain for 2 months. I also had lymphocytes 18% at 2 weeks post exp and 56% 4 weeks post exp .
    I did elsia hiv antibody 1 n 2 test , card method at 8 weeks . It came out negative ( d lab said its strongly negative ) . Do I hav to test again ??? Pls giv yr opinion

    • The ELISA test at 8 weeks is very accurate. In my view as good as conclusive. Officially you need to repeat it at 3 months post exposure.

  157. vishal

    I had a protected oral and a protected vaginal sex with a legal geylang csw on april 19 2014 . I developed fatigue in a week and also pharyngitis , sinusitis , fever(3days , not very high ) , chills at 3 weeks post exposure . Then I also had weakness and leg pain for 2 months. I also had lymphocytes 18% at 2 weeks post exp and 56% 4 weeks post exp .
    I did elsia hiv antibody 1 n 2 test , card method at 8 weeks . It came out negative ( d lab said its strongly negative ) . Do I hav to test again ??? Pls giv yr opinion

    • Your test result is very indicative. I my view as good as conclusive. But officially you still need to retest at 3 months post exposure.

      • vishal

        Hello doctor

        Thanks for your opinion . I did the test at 61 days posr exposure . Is it okay if I dont test again at 3 months ?

        • vishal

          Because I have made up my mind not to tes5 again doctor. Thats why . I felt if I test again I might get the tendency to keep testing out of anxiety even if I dont engane in any sexual activity hereafter.

  158. I recently had unprotected oral sex with a sex worker. She gave me a blowjob without a condom and she also let me eat her and drank her fluids. We did not do any vaginal sex / penetration. When i came home i noticed that i have a very small cut on my penis but not bleeding. Its only been days and so far no sign of HIV symptoms showing.

    However, im still worried because i dont know if she has HIV given her job as a sex worker. What are the chances that I have acquired HIV? Will there be a chance that I have acquired HIV but now get any of the symptoms mentioned? Should i be paranoid and get tested right away?

    • Very low to no chance. There is no point in getting tested right away. You are still within the HIV testing window period. You should get tested regularly for HIV and STDs since you are sexually active. However, the risk of contracting HIV from this particular incident is very low to zero.

      • Thank you so much for your advice.
        This is actually the first time i tried with a sex worker. I was a bit worried because of the very small cut I noticed on my penis and we did oral sex (both ways) without any protection. So this should not cause any worry?

        We did not do any penetration after i noticed the cut even if she insisted to use condom.

        So far, no symptoms of any kind mentioned in this site. Only had itchy balls which i had even before this incident with the sexual worker.

  159. Amazing site, by far the most helpful I have seen..

    Does ARS ever manifest itself in other ways, for example,

    5 weeks after a low risk exposure …. 4 day illness, temp of 37.7 day 1 and pain in lower back. Day two no pain but still warm 37.4 day 3 same temp, pain in lower back and rib area again, hurt to breathe deeply day four pain then, after a visit to toilet, pain vanished almost instantly, never returned.

    No other symptoms at any time, no rash, no a chills, no sore throat? No aching legs or arms or head or shoulders, no lumps on neck, ears or groin that i could find. Does that sound like any ARS you ever came across?

    • In nutshell, not anything I have come across and honestly does not sound like ARS to me. The problem with studies on ARS is this: We diagnose a patient who is HIV +ve. He tells us his last exposure was 2 months ago. We ask him if he has been feeling unwell in the past 2 months. More likely than not, he will name every single symptoms regardless of how minor. Then we put all this in the final report and Voila! suddenly every symptom under the sun is an ‘ARS symptom’. So the utility of ARS symptoms only come in when they are 100% typical. i.e. 3 weeks post exposure, high fever, mouth ulcers, rash etc. Then we counsel the patient properly and test him. If the symptoms fall into any other category, we just shrug our shoulders and do the HIV test. So yours is a ‘shrug shoulders and just go get tested’ scenario. You might find this article useful: Early Symptoms of HIV

      • Thank you for the reply and the links. Very interesting and I do feel better informed.

        I have read the links and more on your site, can I just confirm my understanding. The reason it DOESN’T sound like ARS to you is a mixture of the following?

        1) symptoms are perhaps a little late ( more typical at 3 rather than five weeks)

        2) Fever of 37.7 is perhaps a little low

        3) Duration of symptoms, 3-4 days is perhaps a little short.

        4) lack of rash, sore throat, ulcers etc

        5) the symptom of lower back/ rib pain is not typical and as you say, the way information is gathered means that the list of symptoms is usually very long and so the fact that this isn’t listed as a symptom in any research I can find makes it even less likely to be a symptom.

        Are some/ all of those the reason why you didn’t think it sounded like ARS.

        Thanks once again, a very direct and accessible resource you provide, full of easy to follow info.

        I should also add although it doesn’t effect the question, my exposure was protected and as far as I know there was no condom failure, I also understand that symptoms are not a reliable guide to anything, only a test is. I am just interested.

        Brad

  160. Doubtful

    Dear doc,

    I had unprotected vaginal and anal sex more than 2.5 years ago but did not experience any serious HIV ARS symptoms.

    Should I still get tested, and which test do you recommend?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi doubtful,

      Getting tested to know your status is always a good idea. In your case, a standard antibody test would be sufficient.

  161. emmanuel

    dear dr.
    i hav had sex with a random female at a party like three and half weeks ago to make sure that i dont get exposed to H.I.V , I did wear a condom but the prob here is i used the same condom til i ejaculated the second time and i found some of my semen leaking out from the bottom of the condom opening , i am pretty sure that the condom did not tear off from any part.. cause i checked properly and made sure that it ws not toren . just a lil worried that i found lil semen leaking … so by any chance can i get H.I.V ??

  162. Dear Dr,

    Are my symptoms consistent with ars hiv.please help me.

    10 days after unprotected receptive anal.
    I got high fever 38-40c,headache,muscle pain. Whenever took paracetamol will drop to 37, then rise up. This lasts for a week.
    Tonsillitis with exudate a day after onset fever took penicillin V tonsils better after 3 days, then multiple ulcers on gum and under my tongue, gingivitis
    too.

    I have no rash.

    Is this hiv ars? 10 days after exposure..

    • Despite the fever I could still wake up to do stuff not just lie on bed. But fever did last 6-7days. Took many times paracetamol.

      Thanks doctor

    • Your symptoms sound very much like HIV ARS. However, at 10 days, it is a bit too early. That is the only saving grace. Unprotected receptive anal sex is very high risk. You really should get screened.

      • Sorry Dr Tan to bother you again, my symptoms really appeared exactly after 10days, in your experience, this ever happened before. And you mentioned fever at least 2 weeks. I’m really worried now because I don’t have access to hiv clinic till after 2 weeks. Really scared. Sorry doctor.

  163. Hi Dr tan,

    Have protected sex with a female 3 weeks ago, during the course, had some deep kissing,
    Condom not broken however, she was having her period but ending soon and some brown fluid got on my skin near to my penis ( not the head area).

    No symptoms of rashes, fever, cold, ulcer, lymph and etc. Only had some diarrhea. Sometime liquid sometime soft, but like to eat hot spicy stuffs, not sure if it the course of my diarrhea

    Have a habit of eplilating my groin area however during the course I have not been eplilating for the pass two weeks

    Will I have high chance of getting ARS or HIV?

    Await for your reply.

    Thank you.

  164. Hi Dr Tan,

    Thank you for your fast reply. However, I would like to know, will there be a possibility of getting hiv if the blood touches my skin? How long does it get the pores to close after each epilating?

  165. Supratim

    I had sexual intercourse with one CSW on 22nd May 2014. It was protected vaginal and oral sex. I checked the used condoms later on with utmost care and found no damage in those. Also we had deep throat kissing.

    from 10th day I had mild pharyngitis which is still continuing. That time strain of blood was coming with phlegm. I consulted with local doctor and in X-ray nothing significant came up.

    from 29th day I had mild joint pain and muscle ache which lasted for 7 days and gone.

    from 42nd day onwards I started suffering from gas, bloating stomach and headache.

    from 55th day (yesterday) I problem with gas reduced only headache remain.

    I did a CBC test and the result was ok, except 5.6 eosinophil rating. I did HIV test (3rd generation) within 19th day and result was negative.

    I am living in Kazakhstan and option for HIV test is very limited. Here they conduct only 3rd gen antibody test. Until unless I will reach in India nothing can be done, which is simply increasing my anxiety.

    Questions:
    1. Do you feel these are related with ARS?
    2. I did my HIV test (3rd gen antibody) after 19 days of exposure which came back negative. How significant is the result?
    3. Can ARS symptoms appear after 7 weeks of exposure?
    4. Now I have very mild headache with phlegm, no cough. Is it related to ARS?
    5. Can ARS symptoms appear one after another or all together?

    Regards,

    • 1. No. 2. About 75% maybe. 3. No. 4. No. 5. No definite rule.

      • Thanks doctor Tan. One last question. Can only diarreah without other symptoms be ARS?

      • Supratim

        Can HIVES considered as ARS related skin rash? My wife is experiencing those.

  166. Hi Dr Tan.
    38 days after having sex unprotected. I tested the combined p24 ag / ab. Neg s/ co 0:12. Results how good doctor?

  167. S Seymore

    Hi Dr Tan.
    Thanks for answering my question.

    I had a blood test done 2.5 weeks ago (un-hiv related), the clinic seemed very professional and so was the nurse. However in the last 3-4 days i have had some symptoms that have me concerned. i seem to have developed a very stiff/sore neck coupled with an occasional mild headache and some bouts of nausea. I see that these are listed in your symptoms. I dont have fever, rash, sore throat or any thing else except a stiff neck – occasional headache, and some nausea the later 2 seem to come and go. Could these symptoms by themselves be ARS? Would muscle/joint aches be all over the body with ARS? I’ve heard a stiff sore neck is common with ARS? Does nausea/headache come and go with ARS? im worried the needle could of been contaminated (even though it appeared a branded new one was used).
    Thanks

    • Why would you even link these symptoms to the clinic visit? That is not very logical. HIV ARS symptoms are the same symptoms that occur when the body is fighting off any virus. Not just HIV. For more info, please read our earlier article on early HIV symptoms.

      • S Seymore

        Hi. Sorry, I’m not trying to be illogical or waste your time.
        I’m just worried, I’ve never really had a headache, sore neck that comes and goes for a week (still experiencing it) and the odd bout of nausea,
        Just seems a coincidence that this came on 12 days after the blood test.
        So…..can i ask is a sore neck that comes and goes, headaches that come and go and occasional nausea sound like ARS or would the muscle stiffness be generalised not localised and headache/nausea be persistent and not come and go therefor unlikely to be ARS
        Thank you very much

        • S Seymore

          Sorry DR, any chance you could answer the above to help with anxiety

  168. Hi Doctor,

    I apologize for the long question.

    Day 0: Had protected sex with sex worker and mid way, noticed I had herpes blisters (not the sores) at the base of my penis which was only covered partly by the condom. Didn’t worry at the time cause i thought that part could not get in contact with the vagina as it was at the base.

    Day 12, I had a whole lot of alcohol to drink the night before and I woke up feeling weak, light headed and a very slight headache. 2 days later, still feeling weak and a bit light headed and I felt I was having a fever and was getting cold easily. More blisters appear on genitals with tender lymph nodes at the groin area

    Was having nightmares all through this period, no night sweats, had a sore throat one night before going to bed but was gone by morning. But i wake up at night and touch my body and it feels so hot.

    Day 28, still feeling the fever and tired, I went to the hospital where my temperature was measured to be 37.1. Saw the doctor who gave me anti biotics

    Day 34, went to the free HIV clinic and got a free rapid (determine method) test which came out negative. Couldn’t get any other method and was asked to come back in 3 months. Saw a GP same day who tested for hemoglobin 10.6. And also found malaria parasite. 2 days later, I started feeling my armpits to be bumpy in the shower when i run my soapy hand across with some burning pain for a few days, my chest, shoulder muscles also hurt for a few days. I have always had tinnitus, but noticed it became louder this period

    Day 42, started malaria treatment and after completion noticed tinnutus is now even louder, more fatigue but dont feel hot anymore. But still feel cold easily

    All through, only had a few minutes of sore throat. No body rash, no diarrhea although I feel i have a dryer skin. I have a reduced appetite and my friends say ive lost weight but i still weigh the same. I only stopped working out. I have my right neck lymph node swollen. Has always felt swollen to me for years. I’ve been feeling light headed all through and now i wake up hungry/weak and have to quickly get something to eat to get some strenght. My question are

    1) How bad was my risk
    2) How confident is my test at 34 days (i also suffer from SCD and I’m quite immune to malaria)
    3) what else can be responsible for all this that I can test for.

    Thanks a lot. I really appreciate your response.

    • 1. Extremely low. 2. Extremely accurate. 3. Syphilis, Herpes. Honestly does not sound STD related. Could very well be due to the malaria. Maybe you also caught some other tropical disease. Can’t say I’m an expert in that area. You are better off seeing your doctor. Don’t worry about HIV. Get re-tested at 3 months but I am sure you’ll be OK.

  169. 16 days ago I had unprotected sex with a guy. I came on him and continued to until I came the second time. 13 days later I had a mild sore throat. The next day mild head ache (barely noticeable) mild joint pain on my thumb and a few pain Jette and there in my knee. This morning I have a slight pain behind my ear. I feel slightly nsuseated. The guy said he was negative. This was my first time song what I did with any guy. I’ve generally use protection except for that time cause I didn’t have access to condoms. Please help me

    • Your symptoms do not sound like HIV. However, the fact is you had unprotected sex and therefore you are at risk. Not everyone who is infected with HIV will develop symptoms. You need to get screened for HIV and all other STDs.

      • Thank you Doc, what kind of Hiv screening can I get at this time that will give me an accurate result. is it the Hiv RNA test?

  170. 16 days ago I had unprotected sex with a guy. I came on him and continued to until I came the second time. 13 days later I had a mild sore throat. The next day mild head ache (barely noticeable) mild joint pain on my thumb and a few pain here and there in my knee. This morning I have a slight pain behind my ear. I feel slightly nsuseated. The guy said he was negative. This was my first time song what I did with any guy. I’ve generally use protection except for that time cause I didn’t have access to condoms.

  171. Hi Dr Tan,
    I had protected vaginal sex with spa lady, she told me she is negative(iam not confident with her statement, so status unknown). There was no breakage of condoms or any mishaps. But I made a mistake when removing the condom, I touched the condom to remove and discard. but did it little carefully. is there possibility for transmission of virus from palm of my fingers?? I did not had any bruises or skin breakage. Thanks

    • Hi Ram,

      There is a small risk of HIV transmission from vaginal intercourse but no risk from handling the condom. I’d advise you to get tested at the appropriate interval to be sure. You can see our article for the various test available and the minimum exposure interval for each

      • Thanks Dr.Prem. Iam sure there is no risk of transmission from vaginal intercourse since everything was perfect(I also understand condom does not give 100% protection), only the handling of the condom. Now I feel relaxed bit.

  172. Jhonny

    Hi doctor i m really concerned whether i contracted hiv or not i had protected sex with a prostitue but eh problem is when i was ttaking my penis out of her the condem wasn thr and the next thing i see is ishe putting her finger in for 1 second and the condem was hamging in her vaginadays later oral thrush with 3 white spots on my uvelaa no ulcers no pain in tthe tonsils lfeels like strep throat 5 days tafter that i had diarrhea which was intermittent nott consistent but when i changed my diet the diarrhea has gone away but thrush is still there with 3 small white spots on uevella no pain no fever nothing no rash

  173. Jhonny

    Hi doctor i m really concerned whether i contracted hiv or not i had protected sex with a prostitue but eh problem is when i was ttaking my penis out of her the condem wasn thr and the next thing i see is ishe putting her finger in for 1 second and the condem was hamging in her vagina 8 days later oral thrush with 3 white spots on my uvelaa no ulcers no pain in tthe tonsils lfeels like strep throat 5 days tafter that i had diarrhea which was intermittent nott consistent but when i changed my diet the diarrhea has gone away but thrush is still there with 3 small white spots on uevella no pain no fever nothing no rash

  174. Jhonny

    And it has been 4 weeks since the exposure now also i forgot to include for the past one month i was taking an excessice protien diet to gain mass which i might think must have cause the diarhea cause iaftwr i stopped the diet the diarrhea went away but still bloating and gas in the stomach

  175. Jhonny

    And sorry for commenting again and again it was vaginal intercourse but as i said earlier it was protected

  176. Jhonny

    Also i just read what strep throat is it is not strep throat as ther is not its a feeling clearing the throat

  177. Hi Dr Tan,
    What are the chances of HIV transmission in having protected sex(no breakage or slippage) with spa worker in case if she is 1) positive and 2) status unknown?? if Iam negative.
    Thanks so much.

  178. Hi Dr Tan.
    To add more on the above question only vaginal intercourse??
    Thanks

  179. Hi Dr
    3.5 weeks ago I had a blood test (not for HIV) but am concerned about possible infection due to some symptoms I’ve had since the test,
    Exactly 10 days after the test I developed a sore neck and headache
    The sore/stiff neck remains now (3.5 week after test) headache comes and goes every couple of days and I also have had bouts of nausea. Yesterday nausea was v bad, today fine. Last week was the same – headache and nausea would come and go on certain days.

    Can you please help me by answering these
    Q1 – is stiff/sore neck a sign of ARS or would muscle aches be generalised not localised.
    Q2 – with ARS – do headaches and nausea come and go or are they persistent
    Q3 – is it possible to have ARS without fever, rash, swillen lymph nodes and sore throat ( I don’t have any of these)
    Q3 – do all of the above – sore neck, headache and nausea that come and go 10 days after a test and lasting for over a week sound like ars?

    Sorry – I know this seems like a stupid question but just want some reassurance that I don’t need to get a test

    • 1. Muscles aches are too non-specific to be useful in diagnosis. It can be localized or generalized. 2. Again can be either. 3. No it is not. But it is possible to be infected with HIV and not develop any symptoms. 4. No it does not.

  180. Dr. Tan,

    For the past few weeks I have driven myself crazy over the thought of possible HIV infection.
    The symptoms I have had are..
    First week painful and frequent need to urinate. This was constant throughout the week. Not excruciating pain but general discomfort.
    Second week was similar except I noticed a few red blister like spots around my groin and genitals. Again not terribly painful but uncomfortable.
    At this point my anxiety was very high and I thought I started to notice other symptoms such as slight fatigue or tiredness or just feeling out of it and swollen lymph nodes.
    Same thing for week three except it would come and go. I was still able to do physical activity and not notice any problems. It was more in the morning or at night when sitting down and having time to think about it.
    week 4 same thing slight feeling of being tired or run down. Still discomfort with urination and ejaculation every now and then
    then Week 5 I developed a stuffy nose and slight cough all with phlegm. I also noticed pretty intense abdominal pain. I had been feeling my stomach constantly to try and feel if my spleen was enlarged because I saw that it was a symptom of ars. Then a great deal of my pain was coming from the upper left side which is where the spleen is. This has had me very anxious and feeling as if I have signs of ars. I also have noticed the fatigue and tiredness is high now as well.

    I have had no rash and no fever through this which is the only thing that gives me hope

    Are these symptoms congruent with ars?
    Does the fatigue come and go like this where one day I feel tired and not the next?
    Could this be and enlarged spleen in week 5 and an are symptom?

    Please help

    Thanks
    Chris

    • I am a 20 year old male. This happened at a college in america. It was no prostitute or high risk individual. But it was unprotected

    • I know you’re busy and do a wonderful job. I am so worried. Please respond and help if you can

    • Your symptoms do not sound like HIV ARS at all. However, I’m sure you know that you still need to be screened to be 100% sure. The urinary symptoms you had could indicate another STD like Chlamydia. The blisters you had could have been herpes.

  181. Hi Dr Tan,
    I read in your medical articles section in this site that the risk of HIV transmission from female to male is 1:3000 is this study analysed based on unprotected risky behavior sex or protected sex??
    Thanks

    • The risk of female to male transmission of HIV is anywhere between 1:1000 to 1:10,000. This is unprotected sex.

  182. Dear Doctor Tan

    I had condom breakage (receptive anal sex) about 2.5 months ago.

    Since then I experienced flank pain for a few days. This resolved. I had a burning discomfort in armpits but I could not feel any hard lumps, (I thought this was muscle injury, or allergy to deoderant). This symptom has continued as a feeling of a mass particularly on the left side, with a localised feeling of burning/stinging.

    Last week I had 3 days of unexplained fever between 37.11 and 38.90, with a couple of chills, headache, stiff neck and sore lower back, I had rest and took paracetemol. The next day I had very mild sore throat and hard nodes in my neck. The following day this had resolved (no swollen nodes, no sore throat)

    Before this I was a very healthy active person. Based on these symptoms. What do you recommend, as I am concerned. Thank you for your time.

    • I do not think your symptoms are sinister but you should get screened for HIV and STDs nonetheless.

  183. Dear dr tan
    I had unprotected sex with a girl after 4 weeks I got rash like an allergic itchy and found two red spot in my hand so in the 6 week itself I checked for hiv test result is negative and after the next day I got sore throat for 10 days and I have taken antibiotics according to doctor prescription now its k but if went outside I got difficult in swallowing due to environment allergies and so that I went chest physician he asked me take blood test and I was shocked my ige level > 6000 is that means I infected with hiv or allergy and I asked to check my gf to take hiv test its shows non reactive…pls help am so scared

    • One more info I have watery eyes in one side

    • Hi Siju,

      IgE levels have nothing to do with HIV. They usually indicate an allergic event. I don’t think your symptoms are to do with HIV; however you will need to repeat HIV testing at 3 months for conclusive test results.

  184. Supratim

    Can HIVES considered as ARS related skin rash? My wife is experiencing those.

  185. Justin

    Hello Doc,

    I had unprotected insertive sex with another guy. On 11 days started having mild sore throat, then the following day I notice a few really small rashes on my chest, no rashes on my face or chin, feeling of nausea, headaches, joint and muscles pain, stiff neck and abdominal pain. Mild sore throat continues and on the 3rd week, I have DEVELOPED oral thrush. My tongue was really white when I woke up. There is no lesions or sore anywhere in my mouth or in my gums. I do notice that the back of my mouth has a discoloration. I can still swallow food without discomfort or pain. I don’t have any swollen and tender lymph nodes. I didn’t have any fever or flu like symptoms. My headaches comes and go and my joint points are gone.

    Does it sound like ARS to you Doctor?

    Thank you

    Justin

  186. Hello Doctor – I am from India. xactly 4 weeks ago, I had to go a medical lab for some tests and I am again worried about accidental transmission as I vaguely remember the needle being dirty. After a week, I had diarrhoea which became alight after antibiotic Norfloxacin. After around 3 weeks, I have breaks and lesions in my mouth and predominantly lips. I googled canker sores and my lesions do not resemble them. I googled thrush and my symptoms do not resemble that as well. In a way, it resembles Angular Chelities – I do not have breaks yet in my mouth corner , but I have macerated lips, skin peeling and breaks in certain areas in the inner lips, near the edge of the mouth, etc and a little painful. The whole lip area near mouth is very soft as well. There is no pus or red colour ulcers or sores. In one of the areas that has peeled, I noticed a red colour blister ( filled with blood) last week and the next day it became flat and the skin started peeling and this is how the whole peeing started. When I say peeling, it is in speficis areas in the inner and outer lip and in some areas it has peeled to reveal red colour and painful in some areas. I also have a red dot on the roof of my mouth. There is no pus or anything and no ulcers. All this period – I had no fever no rashes no sorethroat, no considerable aches and no considerable fatigue as well.

    I have the following questions:

    1. My current incident – I am pretty scared as I have never had any mouth sores or lip peeling before. The red dot is kind of making me scary. Should I be worried about HIV or anything else?
    2. If it is an infected needle, how long can HIV stay? is it certain minutes or hours? Is there a specific timelimit?
    3. What is causing my problem?
    4. Do I need to worried about any of this or am I being just paranoidal?

    Thanks for your time as always.

    • 1. I cannot comment on this. What I can tell you to do is to see your doctor and get diagnosed instead of jumping to conclusions. 2. Please read our article on How Long HIV survives outside the body. 3. I do not know. This site is not for medical consultations. You are welcome to come to our clinics to see our doctors. 4. I can say you do not need to be worried about HIV. I cannot say what is exactly causing your symptoms.

  187. Dear Dr. Tan,

    I had unprotected sex about a month ago. Several weeks after I had diarrhea that lasted for 2 weeks. When it stopped for about several days, I started having muscle and joint pain especially at the knees and thighs. My lymph nodes are swollen, but not severely. I don’t have fever nor noticeable rash. I am getting nervous.

    Could you please give me some info?

    Thank you.

    • What kind of info do you want? I think it is a very straightforward issue. You are worried that you have HIV right? It has already been 1 month since your exposure right? Then the smartest thing to do is to get a combo test at our clinic. That way, you find out either way. I can say your symptoms do not sound like HIV ARS, but honestly that is a rather useless statement because it does not tell us if you have been infected with HIV or not. Only the test can tell.

  188. hi Dr Tan.
    I had unprotected vaginal sex with a lady unknown status on 11 july, deep kissing and ejaculated inside her and after an unprotected blowjob.
    11days later-22 july- minorThroat sore, headache and fatigue.
    23 and 24 july- night sweats, headache and minor throat sore.(troat has couple red spots on.
    25 july- got antibiotics. throat, fatigue and minor headache.
    29july(18days)-swollen lymph in neck and neck stiff due to LOTS of stressing!!!
    31july-swollen lymph in neck only. slight headache. still stressing! no rash and basically never had a bad fever during the time…
    I have been nausea deu to antibiotics. neck muscels still hurt due to stressing that I might be exposed to hiv… lymph hurt just a little and under my chin it feels swollen to. metalic taste in my mouth (acid reflux) and back of throat still small red spots but no pain. the day my throat stated paining can be because of a heater. but after I followed hiv symptoms that shook me bad!!!
    I know its to early for testing but whats the odds?
    this site really helped and would keep my status after everything is tested on time because there is so many questions but no sufficient answers…

    Kind Regards
    Scott (S.A)

  189. 20th June, had unprotected sex. Within 2 weeks, penis started to itch, had clear discharge. Only on one occasion, had white thread shaped discharge. Went to see doctor immediately on the 4th July (exactly 2 weeks after exposure).

    4th July did STD test, took jab for Gonorrhoea (like someone punched my arm real hard), did an expensive HIV test on the spot (apparently it can detect if I have HIV even at 2 weeks after exposure but results were not conclusive. Was told by the doc that I should retest 3 months after exposure) and started medication for Chlamydia. Doctor gave me Azithromycin – it came in a box of 6 tablets from Pfizer. 4 tablets I took on the spot and remaining 2 tablets the following morning. Symptoms improved but somehow, I felt that it was still around. I got my results back (within a week). Only have Chlamydia, was cleared for the rest of the STDs.

    18th July, exactly, 2 weeks later, I decided to see my doc again as I felt the symptoms persisted. Had clear discharge (like pre cum, it was sticky) when I milk my penis hard and always felt like something leaking. 18th July return to see my doctor. He gave me both medications this time. Azithromycin – box of 6 from Pfizer ( 4 tablets day 1 and 2 tablets day 2); and Doxycycline – one tablet 2 x daily for the next 10 days.
    30th July unprotected sex with someone clean (100% sure).
    As of today, 1 August, I am still having that penis leaking all the time feeling. Like I just had sex kind of feeling. I sometimes milk my penis really really hard and some clear sticky liquid comes out (very similar to pre cum). Can you advice me:

    1. Is the HIV test conclusive? Do I still have chance of getting HIV (no sex after the 20th June exposure).
    2. Can I still have Chlamydia or is the virus dying but not completely gone.
    3. Will I infect the person I had sex with on the 30th July?
    4. Is there anything that the STD test did not pick up? is that possible assuming my doc did the same STD test that you would have normally carried out for your patients.
    Pls let me know what I should do. Wait for it to improve of see the doctor again?

    thanks.

    SAM

    • 1. I do not know as I do not know what test he did for you. 2. You still can but very unlikely. 3. There is a possibility. 4. That is a very big assumption. Our tests are very comprehensive. However, certain tests are not 100% accurate at 2 weeks post exposure. I cannot tell you what to do as that amounts to giving medical advice. You should see your doctor for medical advice. My 2 cents worth: I think you have prostatitis.

  190. worried

    Helo doc! Love your work and how you help on site.Doc i had unprotected sex with a gal a while back! Like two months to the day!.Recently i have a score tonge! Like on my left side of my tonge its nt an open score,but it hurts when im eating!

    • First of all, 2 months is kinda late to have HIV symptoms. Secondly, sore tongue is not a usual ARS symptom.

  191. martin toy

    Hello, i had protected sex with a hooker who may have aids but whilst inside the condom ripped and i removed my penis and placed another condom on. It has been 4 days since the incident an i have a small rash on my right thigh but i think it may be to do with the sun. I am very worried an freaking out.

    • It is too early for HIV symptoms. There is nothing much you can do now but wait till the window period is up then got for HIV and STD screening. Take comfort in the fact that your risk is low.

  192. Hi doc I had sex with a sex worker during the intercourse the condom broke I did not realize until after 15 days after exposure I got test for hiv 1-2 and syphilis I camebback negative for both. also at 15 days I had itching on my chest and forearms at 20 days post exposure I took a rna pcr test it came back negative (non detectable) 2 days later I had a bad headache stemming from my neck possible fever lasted for a day at 30 day post exposure I took an hiv 1-2 test wich came back negative I also have a bit of a sore throat .
    My question is how conclusive are my test and should I take a western bolt test at 8 week do my simtoms sound like ars
    Note I saw no visible rash on my chest just a lot of itching

    • Your RNA PCR test is conclusive. Your symptoms do not sound like ARS.

  193. Would really appreciate your help doc

  194. Than you very much doc you really gave me some breathing room i will still take the e months antibody test

  195. Hey doc, I recently got tested for HIV in January 2014 because I had flu like symptoms fever swollen lymph nodes cold etc. I tested negative. A few weeks (about 2-3 weeks)later I got this scaly dry rash that went away in a week then my girlfriend go the same rash and I started getting sick really easy. I was told the rash and the cold was because of the harsh winter we were having. But my girlfriend keeps getting allergic looking rashes like she touched metal and had an allergic reaction . Should I be worried if my tests came back negative and have had zero exposure ?

    • Why are you even testing if you have had zero exposure? If the test you did in January was conclusive and you have not had any exposure since then, the logical conclusion is that you cannot possible be infected with HIV.

  196. Dear Doctor,
    I was having HIV 1/2 + P24 test after 50 days of exposure. and its negative.
    But I was having sore throat started after 6-7 days after the exposure and its still not good and now am having bit cough.
    Should I worried.
    Please advice me.. I am too much worried.

  197. Hello dr i took hiv elisa 3rd generation antibodies test 42 days after my exposure and also took hiv proviral dna pcr test at 47 days post exposure which had sensitivity of 100 viral copues per ml..both of these tests came back negative..how conclusive are those tests?do i need further testing..one problem is freaking me out that from 16th day post exposure i am having muscle and joint pains till now..the pain is constant throughout the day..m getting pain in my feet,soles,knees,elbows hand wrist and fingers….are they related to hiv infection?can these muscle pains related to hiv stays this much long?and how much conclusive are my test results?

  198. Anthony Toh

    Can i ask if HIV fever does not even go away even when u take medications like parcetamol? Will it remain high always or it will tend to go up and down, just that it does not go away after 2 or more weeks?

    • The HIV fever will go down with paracetamol but it will come back up in a few hours after the medication.

  199. Worriedtothe max

    pardon for the long questions

    I went to your clinic for the HIV combo test after 28 days of exposure and was tested negative.

    However at week 7 i had a fever ranging from 37.1 to 38.6 and i have a sore throat and neck stiffness. The fever did decrease when i took parcetamol but however it will rise back up again. due to yesterday having mild fever , today the fever has rised.

    I have no rash, no fatigue , no muscle ache except for neck stiffness. To be honest after the first combo test, my anxiety is very overwhelming and up the roof and i cant seem to stop worrying.

    Does my symptoms sounds like ARSs?

    • Hi Worriedtothemax,

      ARS is a very variable presentation. With a negative Combo result, I’d say the chances your symptoms are due to HIV seroconversion are very low. If your symptoms persist do visit a doctor to check for the cause. If we think its necessary we can always repeat testing to make sure it isn’t HIV.

    • That is truly a pointless question isn’t it? You have already tested conclusively negative for HIV so how could you possibly have ARS?

  200. I had sex with prostitute with Condom in Month of FEB 2014.
    after 4 months i I had nausea, then diarrhea for 7 days.
    after 7 days had sore throat and ulcer in mouth for 3-4 days.
    I had rahses like pimples on my back of shoulder from elbow.this is for almost 1.5 months( 4 months after after protected exposure).
    last 2 months I had diarrhea about 2 times a day.( not sure it is a diarrhea 4 months after after protected exposure). I have not lost any weight so far.

    Also I had small pimple rash on penis at 3-4 locations inside skin which comes and goes

    Are this sympotons of ARS of HIV.

  201. Hi doctor

    i Have tested negative for the combo test at your clinic after 28 days of exposure.

    Also today i went to restest again hiv with the combo test at 45 days of exposure and it is negative.

    i am aware with the combo test giving false positive results that can be corrected with western blotting.

    My questions is that 1)whether does this combo test give false negative results? 2) I tested today at your clinc with the combo test again at 45 day exposure negative, however i was having a fever and neck stiffness still for 3 days alr, the fever wont go down, can i conclude that this fever i am having now is not ARS serocnversion cause i tested with the test when i have such symptoms?

    Sorry for the long question, doc …..

    • You have already tested conclusively twice. What else will it take to convince you that you do not have HIV? Let it go man.

      • However i am still having the fever and sore throat, and it haven go away.

        This is very scary so i wanna ask the combo test will give false negative?

  202. I have a white coating on tongue and i think is oral trust can i ask if oral trust is a sign and symptoms of hiv?

    • OK. First of all you are creating multiple different identities and posting multiple questions. You don’t have to do that. This is already anonymous. Secondly, I have already said your tests are conclusive and that you do not have HIV. Whether or not you choose to believe that or not is entirely up to you. I cannot force you. If you want to continue to doubt the accuracy of your tests and keep worrying about your symptoms, that is also your choice. But there is nothing I can do to help you if you choose that path. So either accept that you are free of HIV or continue worrying. There is nothing else I can say or do.

      • I am sorry for the fact for doing that but i was really worried because of having symptoms that could be ARS…. I apologised… however doctor i seen a website it said that the results of the test would be negative in the window period because of what something like viral load, is it true? do i need to go to your clinic to test one more time?

        • As I said, in my opinion your tests are already conclusive. You do not have HIV. You can test as many times as you want, that will not change the reality.

  203. Dear Doctor,
    I am 45 years old circumcision man and daily user of Lipitor 20 mg, Plavix 57 mg, Concor 0.5 mg and Nexium 40 mg last one year. I had unprotected vaginal intercourse two times with an unknown HIV status woman on April 15, 2014. After one day, when I get up, I was suffered with severe Post Nasal Drip, light irritation in throat and feeling like tired. I went to ENT Doctor, he gave me allergy medicine, syrup and nasal spray for 10 days. During this period symptoms were same. I went again to the same Doctor, this time he gave me another allergy medicine, antibiotic and syrup for 20 days. Now the symptom were better than before but I develop Dry cough and back pain during this period. After 20 days I went to Dr. of Internal Medicine, he done CBC test and test was normal instead of Vitamin D, little bit deficiency and he diagnosed sever allergy. He gave me allergy medicine for 20 days along with Vitamin D and Avamys Nasal Spray for two months. after using of this medicine I improved little more but Dry Cough was not gone away. Then I again visited the same Doctor, this time he prescribed me Foster Inhaler, Singular along with my regular medicine (above-mentioned) for one month. After using of this medicine I recovered immediately and Dry cough gone away but during using of Asthma Inhaler I did not rinse or gargling my mouth so therefore I got thrush on my tongue after continuous using of Inhaler. I again went to Doctor and tell him the story. He prescribed Daktarin 40 g Oral Gel for 14 days and Supradyan Vitamins for one month. I used Daktarin Oral Gen 14 days but thrush not gone away then I again went to the Doctor and he again gave me Daktarin Gel for more 14 days. I used it again but thrush in not going away. Doctor I am extremely worried about my situation. Let me know are these ARS Symptoms? Please advise me in this regard.

    • They do not sound like ARS symptoms. But the fact is you had a risky exposure. The logical thing to do is to screen for HIV and all STDs regardless of the symptoms.

  204. Dear Doctor,

    I had unprotected vaginal intercourse two times with an unknown HIV status woman on April 15, 2014. After one day, when I get up, I was suffered with severe Post Nasal Drip, light irritation in throat and feeling like tired. I went to ENT Doctor, he gave me allergy medicine, syrup and nasal spray for 10 days. During this period symptoms were same. I went again to the same Doctor, this time he gave me another allergy medicine, antibiotic and syrup for 20 days. Now the symptom were better than before but I develop Dry cough and back pain during this period. After 20 days I went to Dr. of Internal Medicine, he done CBC test and test was normal instead of Vitamin D, little bit deficiency and he diagnosed sever allergy. He gave me allergy medicine for 20 days. after using of this medicine I improved little more but Dry Cough was not gone away. Then I again visited the same Doctor, this time he prescribed me Inhaler, Singular for one month. After using of this medicine I recovered immediately and Dry cough gone away but during using of Asthma Inhaler I did not rinse or gargling my mouth so therefore I got thrush on my tongue after continuous using of Inhaler. I again went to Doctor and tell him the story. He prescribed Daktarin 40 g Oral Gel for 14 days and Supradyan Vitamins for one month. I used Daktarin Oral Gen 14 days but thrush not gone away then I again went to the Doctor and he again gave me Daktarin Gel for more 14 days. I used it again but thrush in not going away. Doctor I am extremely worried about my situation. Let me know are these ARS Symptoms? Please advise me in this regard.

    Thanks and Best Regards,

  205. Hey, just want to say thanks for putting this up it’s made me feel a lot more relaxed at what is already a very stressful and scary time. My situation is this: 2 weeks 3 days ago I made a stupid mistake by going with a ‘lady of the night’. I received unprotected oral and then performed protected vaginal intercourse. The condom had been in my wallet for at least a year, I don’t think it was damaged, but I didn’t check it. I wish I never did it, such a stupid mistake, I cannot express the amount of regret I have after it and how scared I am, every day this is all that’s on my mind. I have hardly no appetite, I feel hungry but I just don’t feel like eating, I think this is just due to the stress however. About 10 days after the encounter I had what my friends said looked like small sweat rashes on the same place at the opposite side of my body (about half way up my body) no bumps or anything, but relatively itchy, I think they’ve since disappeared. Starting yesterday at the 2 weeks 2 day point I started to get a sniffly nose and now my eyes water, I have a mild cough, sneezing a lot. No sore throat and no swollen lymph nodes anywhere on my body as far as I can feel. I regret my decision so much and I pray to god every day that I’m going to be okay. I understand I still need to be checked for it, but symptom wise, how is it looking? Thanks for reading this I just really need someone to talk to about it and hopefully put my mind at ease and thanks for the reply in advance.

    • No problems. Glad you found it useful. Your symptoms sound nothing like ARS to me. If anything they sound like your anxiety making symptoms and making your over interpret those symptoms. Take it easy man. Get the combo test at 4 weeks.

      • Thanks doc for the quick reply, I had mixed feelings and get very irrational over things like this

        • The first good thing that you have done is realize your thoughts are irrational. Then you can control them.

  206. Tommy v

    Hi
    This is a v helpful site – thank you
    Is one v slightly enlarged lymph node under the jaw/ear a sign of ARS or would glands all over the neck / groin and armpit be swollen?
    Can you have swollen glands in ars without the presence of fever, sore throat, rash, vommitting etc etc

    • Swollen glands without fever and sore throat is unlikely to be ARS. Glands that swell in ARS are usually multiple glands on both side of the neck nearer the front (anterior cervical chain). At a very late stage of HIV infection, patients can develop PGL – Persistent Generalized Lymphadenopathy. During this stage, glands everywhere will swell and remain swollen.

  207. Hi doctor I had unprotected vaginal about 4 days agiy peanus has a rash and is itching and my throat is hurting butnot alot but my left shoulder keeps hurting me plz help me doc im only 16 I cant tell my mom to go test me

    • 4 days is way too early for HIV ARS symptoms to appear. Anyway your symptoms do not sound like ARS. Having unprotected sex puts you at risk of HIV and all other STDs. You need to get screened regardless of symptoms.

  208. Hi Doc, 2 weeks ago I kissed some one whom I later found out is HIV positive, 2 weeks later I have a blocked nose and a bit of nausea, my baby has now got ringworm started last week, but its almost faded now… Is this a symptom of ARS I’m freaking out. I mite have had cracked lips at the the time, I saw a sore on the roof of his lips and cracked lips the next day… Please help ease my anxiety, is this a cause for concern.. Thank you

    • You really cannot get HIV from kissing. Stop worrying.

      • Hello Doctor, I would like to know.. A cluster of tiny fluid filledsores on the nose, with swollen lymph nodes on either side under the jaw with no fever after a common cold would be considered ARS this is 3 weeks after possible exposure.. And would these sores which seem to be coming together slowly b an acute HIV rash. I did kiss some one who had HIV so I don’t know if this might be herpes or not. Or acute HIV symptoms.. The nodes are quite swollen, like an olive oil swollen, please help

        • Does not sound like HIV ARS. Could be Herpes though. Please see a doctor to get diagnosed. You are welcome to see us anytime.

          • Thank you soo much Dr for your expertise, I wil get tested on the 6th week mark, I have however woke up with an inflammation on the side and back of my tongue on that side!!! I don’t know what’s going on with me now… I’m beside my self with worry, cannot even do anything anymore, my mind is soo focused on me being HIV… Now that this tongue thing has happend is this a cause for concern… I think I’m making myself sick with worry… Do you still think all combined are not acute HIV related, blocked nose at 2 weeks, runny nose, sores on the nose, slight fever at night once, with a tiny bit of sweating and then today the tongue inflammation…

  209. hi dr

    I’m 32 year old guy. 61 days ago had unprotected vaginal intercourse with sex workers.

    14 day hıv duo tested negative.

    21 day hıv duo tested negative.

    27 day hıvduo tested negative.

    40 day hıv duo tested negative.

    56 day(8 week ) hıv duo tested negative

    58 days was pain in my throat. My voice was muted. No fever or rash.

    After 8 weeks of symptoms might start?

    I’m getting married in two months. and I’m so scared …

    Another test required?

    thanks

  210. Hi Doctor, please help me, 9 weeks ago i got into a fight with a hiv status unknown man, there was blood during the fight. I am really worried. Been having fever for a week already with no other symptoms. Doctor, please kindly tell me what are my chances of getting infected. Thank you.

  211. What is the name of the test I have to do doc

  212. Hi dr,
    I recieved unprotected oral sex from female sex worker which included her deep throating me. This lasted for about 15 mins and it included her rubbing her vagina and then touching my penis with the same hand she used for her vagina. About 10 days later I had a really bad cough, shortness of breath with wheezing, a really bad runny nose and itchy eyes which lasted for about a week. I also tested positive for chlamydia.

    1. Am i at risk of hiv?
    2. Are these symptoms the same as ars symptoms?

    Thank you

    • Hi Harry,

      1. You have a very low risk of getting HIV.
      2. Symptoms such as cough and running nose may be part of ARS. Wheezing usually isn’t though.

      Overall I’d suggest getting tested at the appropriate window to rule out HIV. You can get an idea of the appropriate tests and the minimum interval from our article.

  213. Tested with duo combo past 4weeks, 12 and 14weeks past exposure and negative.but having body inflammation and fevers between 37.1 to 37.4 and white tongue.do i need to retest again?

    • Your tests are conclusive. You do not have HIV. There is no need to retest. You should see a doctor to find the cause of your symptoms though.

  214. Mr Worried

    Hi doctor, I had went for erotic massages twice recently. First was on 31st July this year, where by it was done by a unknown HIV status masseur. She does massages for me and perform handjobs twice without condom on me. She had also licked my nipple and did slight kissing on my neck. She was not totally naked at any point of time as she was wearing only her panties when performing the massages and handjobs and I was fondling with her breast and hugging her closely. No contact to her vagina at all. Second encounter was on the 11 August this year where by it is also done by a HIV unknown status masseur. She performed handjob once on me. She’s is also any any point of time wearing her panties and there is no contact to her vagina at all. Only her top was naked when she was performing handjob and massages on me and also wearing her panties. We were hugging each other closely and I was fondling with her breast when she performs handjob on me. Only this two encounter with no vagina penetrative sex, anal sex and oral sex done for both encounter. However both encounter with handjobs done with no condom, but with lubricant and both encounter has quite same level of intimacy. Am I at any risk of HIV or any STD? Pls advice me. Thank you doctor.

    • Mr Worried

      So far there was not any HIV symptoms yet and do I need to go for HIV test? The 28 days exposure combo test? Thank you

      • Handjobs cannot transmit HIV. There is a very low risk of getting other STIs such as herpes. You do not need HIV testing for this exposure.

  215. Hi, Doc.
    5.5 weeks ago I performed only oral sex(cunnilingus) on a prostitute. 17days later i had a discomfort in throat at work. that night watery clear fluid comes out from nose. the next day morning i had a bad runny nose that gets better as the day progressed. in the afternoon around 6pm coming back from sport, i started having a mild fever, felt slightly tired, then had a headache in the night. there was night sweat that night. i woke up the next morning no fever no tiredness no headache they were all gone and did not come back. but still a runny nose. i freaked out when i see night sweat as ARS symptom. i immediately went to clinic to get oralquick test – negative (18th day). had night sweat for two more nights. they were all soaking. the cold lasted 4-5days. a week later i had another night sweat but less serious than previous ones. Doc, am i in danger? can ARS night sweat occur without a high fever? i drank a lot of water when the cold started to treat the cold, but had little pee.

  216. I have a rash on back both upper back shoulders and it spread to the lower back its hurts sometime and goes away and comes back for months now is that related to HIV doc

    • Honestly, I wouldn’t know. The only way for you to know is to get a HIV test. For what it’s worth, I can tell you it does not sound like HIV ARS rash.

  217. wow this is what i’ve been searching for in my 5 weeks freakout. Thank you doc you gave me relief until my first test.

    • I am glad you found this useful. Please let us know if there are any other topics you would like us to write about on our site.

      • Yes doctor,
        I’ve been searching the internet for 5 weeks for 10 hours a day(paranoid – i have high anxiety) and i noticed how many people like me are freaking out after a single unprotected exposure. It would be great if you can write an article like this one(detailed)with statistics and probable risks after a single exposure. I’ve been reading that if it’s anal (1/300) vaginal (1/1000) every article gives different numbers and that differs from men to women .. Anwyays I like the way you put up the symptoms clear and simple.
        I think the above article is perfect and I’ll recommend it to every paranoid person out there.. thanks again

      • Hey Doc, is a sore on the nose and inflammation on the back of the tongue one side after a common cold, nose blocked, no sore through and coughing… Only started coughing at the end of the cold or flu. And my baby has cought this flu from me, if it was ARS wud I hav been passed it to my baby, also had swollen nodes under my jaw and one side of the neck, had fever only one night and a little sweating. Iv been under too much stress I can’t focus on anything, I think I had protected sex cause we did use the condoms but I was drunk I don’t remember. This happened three weeks ago… Does this sound like ARS doc, please help

  218. DR TAN

    I HAD SEX WITH A GIRL ABOUT A MONTH AND A WEEK AGO FOR PROBABLY ABOUT TWO MINS WE HAD UNPROTECTED ANAL SEX DUMB I KNOW LAST WEEK I DEVELOP A SORE THROAT WITH MINOR BODY ACHES THIS IS ABOUT THE 10TH DAY WITH BODY ACHES NO SORE THROAT THE THROAT PROBABLY LASTED FOR BOUT 2DAYS IS THIS A SIGN I KNOW PEOPLE SAY THAT WORRYING CAN CAUSE SYMPTOMS TO CONTINUE BUT HAVING THE INTERNET AT YOUR HANDS CAN BE DANGEROUS

  219. Good day doc, please I need your assistant and advice, I had a sex and d condom torn, I noticed it after. One hour later I was so curious I took ampiclox 500mg, I already drank beer that night, from that day till dis present moment, my body temperature is not stable like before, no any symptoms, I did hiv test 11days after d intercourse, I was negative. No sweat, no rashes, no sore throat etc a friend advise me to use FISH OIL and victamin c, it works but my system body is not that normal like before since that night( 27 july 2014), please clear my perplexity

  220. A Dr tan had sex with a girl bout a month and a week ago unprotected anal for bout two mins bout a week and 3 days ago I had a sore throat , and body aches , the sore throat went away bout after two to three days and the body aches just went away I had no fever at all and no vomitting are thes signs of ars ?

  221. I’m trying to think if I should by the oralquick test now seeing how its only been 6 weeks ?

      • I underwent a routine blood test 3 weeks back and during the test i did not see the nurse opening a new syringe packet to draw blood since i was anxious and before i could realize she had finished drawing blood and asked me to leave.

        exactly 5 days after that i had left cervical lymph nodes swollen(No other lymph node swelling was visible) and it was painless with no other symptoms and 3 days later on 9th day i has irritation in my throat and bad cough,weakness and feverish feeling which lasted 2 days.
        Post those 2 days i felt normal but yet cough persisted for another 3 days with no other symptom.

        Now 3 weeks later,i feel normal but lymph node swelling still persists.I see no other lymph nodes are swollen(groin,armpit).

        Are the ones in groin and armpit visible if they swell and based on my encounter what are the chances of any infection

        • Just one lymph node is swollen.Can’t figure or feel that others in neck are swollen

  222. Jermaine Mitchell

    so is 7 days to soon i have a somewhat of a mild cold and very very tired also a bit of anal itch

  223. Hi dr I know I have anxiety issues but for piece of mind can you answer my some questions 14th of August I just go to my friend house and he call a escort girl and he offer me to do sex with her . I refuse because I don’t want it just one thing I just open his appartment door for leaving and escort girl was behind me and I just leave his house my question is if she had needle injection and when she was behind me she inject me ? I know she didnt you feel pain when needle inject my skin ?But I didn’t feel any pain I tell my story to my friend and tell him to check my back for any mark. But nothing . But after 7 days I got tonsilis swollen can’t swallow my spit . Last night was fever 37.20 and I take antibiotic there is no fever no pain back just tonsilis is that ars? I didn’t do anything with escort thanks if you reply me I am so worries please

    • Hi Aly,

      This is outright paranoia. Your symptoms have nothing to do with HIV and everything to do with anxiety. I’d suggest you speak to a professional about counselling.

      • Thanks for reply quickly I love this website o
        So dr it’s all in my head nothing goes wrong if I think deeply and I got answer escort didn’t inject needle dr tonsils and fever 37.20 after 7 days of this happened no sex it’s not ars? And one more thing today I didn’t feel any fever or pain . One more thing de is ars symptomps gone after one to 3 days? Or it stay long month? And now I relieve a lot because you answer my questions so dr what you suggest me Now? Thanks

        • Your symptoms are not ARS. I think you may have a regular throat infection. Take some medications, and if it really painful or bad, see a doctor. Your symptoms should improve in a week.

  224. I underwent a routine blood test 3 weeks back and during the test i did not see the nurse opening a new syringe packet to draw blood since i was anxious and before i could realize she had finished drawing blood and asked me to leave.
    exactly 5 days after that i had one left cervical lymph node swollen(No other lymph node swelling was visible) and it was painless with no other symptoms and 3 days later on 9th day i has irritation in my throat and bad cough,weakness and feverish feeling which lasted 2 days(took 4 tablets of paracetamol for 2 days).
    Post those 2 days i felt normal but yet cough persisted for another 3 days with no other symptom.
    Now 3 weeks later,i feel normal but lymph node swelling still persists.I see no other lymph nodes are swollen(groin,armpit).
    Are the ones in groin and armpit visible if they swell and based on my encounter what are the chances of any infection

    • Your symptoms are too general to draw any conclusion. Assuming the nurse used a syringe that she just used to draw blood from a HIV +ve patient then there is a risk you have been infected.

      • Dr Tan,but could just one lymph nodes swelling be due to infection and it started at 6th day.

  225. anxious

    hi dr, i read on a site that hiv causes skin to be more sensitive to chemicals and light at some stages. 3-4weeks after a possible exposure for two times(non-consecutive days) i see a red patch/rash on my inner elbow after shower that disappear in 2-3hours. it happened only 2times. no more. i had no big rash on my body, but a very small patch above my left ankle that looks pink. it’s not red and doesnt go away. plz doc shud i be worried?

    • Those are not symptoms of HIV ARS.

      • anxious

        dear doc, if ars does not develop, would the person develop minor things like a cold and three tiny red dots on chest and two on the arm?

        • If ARS does not develop can a person get hit by a car? Dude, not everything that happens to the body is due to ARS.

  226. Mohammed Kamar Khan

    Dear Doctor,
    Hope you are doing well

    1.I had protect sex With shemale. At thé time of climax my condom break n cum outside of anal.

    2.I taken hiv rapid test After 4 days but result was négative.

    3. I had rash on my body but no fever.but doctor say me because of heat ,some time is itch.

    4. I. Aldo have malaria and tyhoid After 12 days After complétion course of typhoid and malaria , i had ulcer inmouth which is almost cure Now, doctor tell me that this becouse of heavy medicince.

    Can u plz tell me this symptom of hiv.

    I m sait for u amassé

  227. Hey Doc I would like to know, if you had an acute HIV illness and went to test, is it likely that you would get a positive on your test since your body had begun fighting the disease, and would acute HIV symptoms come one after the other or all at once, lastly how often has it happened that a negative test at 4 weeks change at the 12th week mark… Thank you so much for the work you do for us! Sometimes I think I’m too paranoid over this subject as iv convinced myself that I’m really HIV positive, but I did get a negative result at 4 weeks

    • Theoretically yes but this is difficult to prove. More often than not, a patient is first diagnosed with HIV then the ARS is diagnosed retrospectively. How accurate a HIV test at 4 weeks is depends on what test is was. Click here for more info in the HIV window period.

      • It was a rapid test!! They pricked my finger tip…also can ARS symptoms come one after the other or all at once!!

        • There are different types of rapid tests. For details on ARS symptoms, please read the article above.

  228. Dear Doctor Tan,I underwent a routine blood test 3 weeks back and during the test i did not see the nurse opening a new syringe packet to draw blood since i was anxious and before i could realize she had finished drawing blood and asked me to leave.
    exactly 5 days after that i had one left cervical lymph node swollen(No other lymph node swelling was visible) and it was painless with no other symptoms and 3 days later on 9th day i has irritation in my throat and bad cough,weakness and feverish feeling which lasted 2 days(took 4 tablets of paracetamol for 2 days).
    Post those 2 days i felt normal but yet cough persisted for another 3 days with no other symptom.
    Now 3 weeks later,i feel normal but lymph node swelling still persists.I see no other lymph nodes are swollen(groin,armpit).
    Are the ones in groin and armpit visible if they swell and are these ars symptoms that i experienced.

  229. Hi Dr, i recieved unprotected oral from a csw on 3rd august. After 2 weeks and 2 days i wasn’t feeling well whilst i was asleep as i developed:
    1. Fever with chills (no swollen gland, no rash, no sore throat)
    2. Nausea
    3. Rapid heart beat
    4. Stomach cramps
    However these symptoms went away after a full day but stomach cramps have remained for a week now and i have noticed my appetite has increased by almost twice as much compared to when i was normal. Are these ars symptoms? Thank you

  230. hi dr.tan, under wat circumstances would a person’s body develop antibodies late? i just took oraquick test today (6weeks+1day) – negative. i had a cold, a one-night fever and some night sweat, and three red dots that are no longer red. is the 6week+1day oraquick test accurate? help plz.

  231. Hi dr,

    Please advice weather fever of 37C (taken from armpit)for more than one week could be acute hiv symptom? I started having these symptoms exactly after 3 weeks of potential exposure (Condom break with sex worker and had a skin damage on my penis head, but appeared only the next morning)

    Symptoms appeared exactly after 3 weeks

    1. very sore throat for the next 36 hours. Slight throat discomfort and voice change for one week
    2. Axillary body temperature 36.80 C – 37.10 C, Temperature is fluctating between 36.7 and 37.1 during the day. But my normal body temperature always was 36.60.
    3. Very small, less than 1sm shotty lymph nodes under arm can be felt when gently searched. sometimes painful, may be irritated because of frequent checking. No other swollen lymph nodes on my neck (except one that is present long time ago which is less than 1 sm near my shoulder and few inguinal lymph nodes which are also present long time ago, more than year)

    4. Do not feel fatigued, no skin rash, no muscle and joint pain. In other words I do not feel ill and can even workout during these days. But very stressed

    5. Weight loss nearly 2kg during the next 20 days before the symptoms appeared. But can also be due to malnutrition because of the stress.

    6. Sometimes night sweats, also started before the above symptoms. Possible due to high temperature of the room (30C)

    Had a baseline hiv test on day 9th and another hiv test on day 23th, both negative. According to nurse it was a 4th generation test.

    Please advise:
    1. Do my symptoms sound like acute hiv symptoms?
    2. How accurate would be my test results? I have heard that 4th generation tests are nearly 70% accurate after 3 weeks, but also have heard a possible second window period when both antibodies and p24 antigens are undetectable.

    Will have another test next week (5 weeks after exposure), but can not stop worrying whenever I feel my lymp nodes under arm.

    I would appreciate your thoughts and odds regarding my situation.

    Thank you in advance

    • 1. Not in the slightest. 2. The 4th Gen test at 23 days is super accurate. Stop worrying. You are fine.

      • Thank you dr,

        I am going to have another test on Monday which will be 35 days after exposure.

        If my symptoms were due to HIV lets assume, then how is the possibility of having enough antibodies by that time. I mean 2 weeks after the beginning of symptoms.

  232. dear Dr,
    I’ve had protiected sex…but unprotected oral with few girls before 4weeks.lately I have developed little tiredness but no symptom of fever yet,sore throat with small ulcer on inside lip, small lymph enlargement on one side of neck(I have never noticed lymph enlargement before) .I did my normal blood check yesterday n values are as below. Total WBC count -12,000,Neutrophils -52,Lymphocytes -40,Monocyte -05,Eosinophil -03,Basophil -00
    Dr says it can be more bacterial than viral is it right? should I do std test? I am worried….

    • Of course you should. I don’t see anything here that conclusively excludes the possibility of STDs.

  233. Hi Doc, 5 days ago on (8/23) i had protective oral and virginal sex with a prostitute. Today (8/27) i begin to have headache and slight chill with minor muscle ache no fever. I’m really worried about seroconversion taking course now. Is it possible to contract HIV through protected sex even if my partner is HIV+? I read from other sites that symptoms can take place as soon as 3 days. Is this true?

    Thank you for your professional feedback.

  234. Hi Dr Tan, I had exposure 1 month ago with a csw. She did oral for me without condom on but during intercourse we had a condom. The first oral was done in the shower with warm water on my penis. The second oral was done on bed without anything. I did not ejaculate but there was pre-cum. She spat out the pre-cum and rinsed her mouth with listerine. The condom did not broke. But after around 3 weeks I developed dry cough for roughly 2 weeks (Still on going) the cough is quite itchy and only cough like every 5-10mins once or even longer. I also started developing sore throat but it was not a bad one. Just yesterday I had 2 ulcers on my tongue side by side. Are these a symptom of ARS? What kind of test should I take? Should I take it now since it has been 1 month or should I take it after the 3 months period?

    • Your risk of HIV is very low. There is no point trying to analyze your symptoms. You can opt to do the Combo test at 1 month or the antibody test at 3 months.

  235. Hey doc, I wud like to find out if the following would be part of ARS symptoms : swollen lymph nodes under the jaws, and one side at the back of the neck, no where else in the body… I did cut myself at the back of my head, I did my hair a few days ago and they pulled the skin at the back to hard,so it ripped, could that have caused a swollen node at the back of the ear… I’m soo stressed I don’t know.

  236. Hello Dr Tan,

    6 days after exposure a single anterior cervical lymph node was swollen,no pain but noticeable swelling.3 days later developed itchy throat but no throat dryness or pain with severe cough which lasted a week.

    Now 4 weeks later single lymph node still swollen but reduced in size.

    Are these ARS symptoms

      • Dr Tan,

        Thanks for your reply but i would kindly request you to tell me that why my symptoms doesn’t sound like ARS symptoms.I mean swollen lymph nodes and throat irritation with cough and also i felt weak and feverish although my temperature was normal.

  237. Hello dr I have one question is ars or hiv lymph nodes can easily see in mirror? Or you have to feel it with fingers thanks dr

  238. Please dr I am so worried can you reply about lymph nodes question lymph nodes hiv easily see in mirror or easily feel or what size of lymph nodes thanks

    • Stop trying to self diagnose. You think your lymph nodes are swollen? Go see a doctor to verify it.

      • No dr they are not swalowen it’s just my thoughts if I have swallown lymph nodes I check with my fingers in front neck just want to ask if I feel with fingers easily feel ? And they visible outside of skin and u can see them in mirror thanks for replyyy

  239. Hello Doc, I would like to find out can ARS symptoms be soo far apart that the first few happen 3 weeks after exporsure and the last happen six weeks post exposure… Also have a cold like weakening effect on my lower body.

    • I don’t think ‘cold like weakening effect’ is an ARS symptom.

      • Okay, its like I’m feeling cold but only on my lower body, and can the ars symptoms be soo far apart as weeks! And inflammation of taste buds…could this be ARS

  240. hello doc. based on your experience and knowledge, what kind of people develop antibodies so late that an oraquick test at 43th day shows negative? at 8th week one night i feel a small circular bump at my neck (front). there were two more red pimples that altogether makes a straight line (so i assumed bedbug bite). it had the color of my skin with a red tiny dot on top of it so i thought it was a mosquito bite and was 2/3 the size of a M&M. next day i woke up it becomes slightly smaller and red. gradually it takes the appearance of a pimple. but while the two pimples near it are gone, it’s still there. doctor?

    • The OraQuick test at 43 days is not conclusive. It is only conclusive at 3 months.

      • doc i read on a webmd post that “The statistics we use is that a 4 week test is considered to be 95 percent accurate; that is, 95 percent of newly infected folks will have enough antibodies present at 4 weeks to show up with current tests. By 12 weeks this increases to 99.9 percent (the incredibly small percentage who may need to continue testing out to six months are those whose immune systems have been damaged by other serious medical issues such as organ transplants).” is it reliable?

  241. Dear Doctor,
    Hope you are doing well
    1.I had protect sex With shemale at time of climax my condom break n cum outside of anal.
    2.I taken hiv rapid test After 4 days but result was négative.
    3.Again rapid test after 3 weeks result is negative and also taken rapid test after 4 weeks result is negative
    4.I had mouth soars twice in two weeks almost cure.
    Can u plz tell me this symptom of hiv.

    Can u plz tell me any test which show perfect result before 3 months because I m so much worried .

    I m wait u r response

    • Hi kkkk,

      What sort of rapid test did you do? I’d advise you to do a 4th Generation test, such as the Combo or Duo tests, for the earliest possible conclusive test. 4th Generation tests will be conclusive 28 days post exposure.

      If you did a rapid test screening only for antibodies, you will need to repeat the test at 3 months for confimation.

      You can read the article for an idea on symptoms. However it’s pointless to look for the mto determine if you have HIV. Testing and testing alone will tell you.

  242. I have tested both 4 and 6 weeks at your clinic an both are negative for hiv and I am going to retest it at 3 months. However I developed an oral thrust and I have read online that oral thrust is due to yeast infection cause by immuno weakened ppl like hiv… My question is that my oral thrush is it caused by hiv or there are other cause that causes it? Thanks

    • Don’t freak out man. HIV tests, even the antibody only tests, at 6 weeks is already as good as conclusive. It is not HIV causing your oral thrush.

      • However this is the situation on my to tongue, I haven being officially being diagnosed with oral thrust yet , however I saw a white coating on my tongue :( when I scrape it it came off , but it is not bleeding nor it is painful …. It does not affect my taste or having a burning feeling,also it has no wound on my tongue, also it does not feel pain when eating spicy food or anything just that it has a white layer on my tongue…., I googled oral trush and found alot of stuffs for it…… May I know can I get help at your clinic for this 2 may I know whether am I having the thrush or not? Sorry for the long question but I really hope u can answer it

        • Oh I see. Then you should stop freaking out and come see us. Our doctors will be able to tell you if you have oral thrush or not. We can also take a swab from your tongue to look for fungus.

  243. Hello Dr I would like to find out… If a 1 year old had got HIV through breastfeeding from his mom, and had ringworms a week after the mother had gotten infected while breastfeeding him, and then got rash on his neck 4 weeks later which go away after 5 days and now on the 7th week has rash on the neck again… Could this be ARS, he had no other sickness but did have a runny nose and cough also in the 4 weeks! But every other kid in the house had the cold too… Could this be a cause for concern…. The rash looks like a heat rash

    • I really do not understand your question. Are you trying to deduce the child’s HIV status from his symptoms? That is utterly impossible. Any child born to a HIV +ve mother should be in the care of a paediatric HIV specialist. Please bring the child to hospital immediately.

  244. Dear Doc,

    Thank you for all of the information on here. I’m writing you today to question the tender/painful lymph nodes I’ve had under my armpits for over a year now. It all started at 3 weeks after sexual intercourse with someone of unknown status. It started 3 weeks after with pain in my neck and in the back of my head. The pain slowly moved to under my arms and groin which is when I figured it could be my lymph nodes. I also had a couple of days with chills but no fever. I went to my doctor at 4 weeks and told him what was going on so he ordered some lab work Mono, CBC, and HIV DNA PNR. The mono came back positive for a previous infection but everything else came back negative. My Doc then said he wanted me to see a hematologist which I went to see and they ran more test all negative and normal except for a CT scan which showed enlarged lymph nodes around my neck but not under my arms or groin. At 3 months I had the HIV antibody test which came back normal and again at 6 month which was also normal the whole time with pain in my lymph nodes. It had now been over a year and I’m still having pain under my arms and now also along the sides of my rib cage lower towards my back some. Could this be HIV or do you think it could be something else? Doc thanks again for you service and I hope you have some good info for me.

  245. dear Sir

    i am from india. yesterday i had protective sex with a CSW but the condom broke on shaft ( approx 1 cm cut ). i immediately withdrew. the head of the condom was intact. i never cummed during the episode. there was no blood on the condom. this entire episode lasted only for about 15 seconds. the CSW told me that she gets regular checkup and last checkup was 3 months back which was negative.

    kindly suggest what test and at what time are to be taken.

    thanx in advance

  246. Hi doctor tan,

    A female sex worker performed an oral sex on me one month ago. A week later, I had an unprotected sex with my friend.

    The next day, I start to experience runny nose and my body start to itch. Each time when I scratch, a small bump will surface. It became quite a number of bumps covering my body and back. I did a rapid test 2 weeks later and the result came out as negative. 2 weeks later, the rash and runny nose disappear and I starr to realise small red dots on my palm. The small red dots disappear one day later but I could still see traces reappearing every now and then.

    Now the skin of my palm starts peeling a little and mild ulcers start to develop in my mouth.

    I have no fever.

    I am very worried.
    Can u please advise me?

    • Your symptoms do not sound like ARS. Get a combo test at 1 month to be sure. Screen for all the other STDs.

      • Dr yesterday my friend take me to massage parlor for massage girls was there but I did not do massage and leave before leave girl was explaining me what she will do during massage but I refuse and leave I have questions dr thanks if you when I was in massage parlor I touch some objects is there any risk and 2 question is before I leave girls were behind me it’s I just thinking if girls inject me with needle. But I know they didn’t I can’t feel any pain 3 question is you can get hiv from just going to massage parlor but not physical contact include thanks dr I know my questions are stupid but thanks dr if u answer these. Questions love this website u dr are awesome thanks I just waiting ur answered

  247. Sofia_marie

    Hello Doctor,

    I had protected sex with a male with unknown HIV status, before he reached an orgasm he pulled out and took the condom off and ejaculated on my rear end which dripped down the outside of my anus and vagina. This all happen so quick I couldn’t even do anything at that point. Now I’m freaking out because I am HSV positive and although I wasn’t experiencing any outbreak I still don’t know if I might have any tears on the skin near the opening of my vagina (where i tend to get the outbreaks). It’s been almost 2 weeks since the incident and I’ve had a constant headache, back pain, slight sore throat, no fever, no rash. Am I at high risk of getting infected if the male is HIV positive? I’m so scared

    • I think your risk of HIV from this is very low. Get tested but don’t worry too much. Oh and your symptoms do not sound like HIV ARS either.

  248. Hi Dr

    One month ago i had an unprotected sex with a normal woman,
    After 2 weeks i started to be worried, i found a purple pimple on my foot and had a sore throat,
    after 4 weeks i was playing football, the weather was cold and i got a hit on my neck, at night and after a hot shower i had swallowing difficulties and kinda sore throat feeling, 2 lymph nodes under my jaw are enlarged and i started to have night sweat on my neck and head (not too much sweat).
    in addition, i feel my shoulders and head burning sometimes, i dont know if it is just a normal anxiety or a symptoms.
    No fever or skin rash.

    I did HIV anti body test after 3 weeks and was negative.
    My questions please:
    Does these look like HIV symptoms?
    If not, does the enlarged lymph i have are because of the hit on my neck, and does HIV in general affect lymph in single or many places in the body?
    do you think the night sweat is related to anxiety, and is the HIV night sweat is a heavy or light one??
    Is the burning back, shoulders and hear an HIV symptoms??

    Thank you

  249. Dr. Tan, your website has calmed my anxiety but still hard to not think the worst.
    I had unprotected oral and anal sex with another male (no reason to assume he has HIV) 6 days ago. Yesterday I started having a sore throat that I didn’t think much of. Today it is noticeably worse and I have noticeably swollen lymph nodes on both sides of my next. What are your thoughts, and also will any kind of test come Monday be useful? Thank you!!

  250. Hi Doctor,

    4 weeks ago I had a high risk exposure and started PEP within 24 hours. 3 med PEP. 1 week ago (3 weeks after starting PEP) I get a small to moderate fever (was moderate for a few hours or a day, then stayed below 100 from what I could tell, measuring 99.9 on the first day of fever) sore throat (only on the left side, doctor eventually said my left tonsil might look slightly swollen), bit of a stiff neck and joint pains in many places (had some trouble moving). I stopped taking one of the meds as doctor was worried it might be hypersensitivity to isentress (raltegravir). I quit the meds and felt better 30 hours later; after having had a fever for only 2 days.

    Today I find a rash on my shoulder. A big “zit” like thing that I scratched off 2 days ago, and today I got tightly packed red bumps surrounding it in a 2cm diameter. It is quite noticeable. I still have reactive arthritis in my right elbow (and a less severe case in my left thumb). With some pains and reduced movement. This is the only symptom that got worse after stopping isentress. Most pains, and fever, were reduced or went away 2-3 days after onset (when I woke up 30 hours after my last dose of isentress). My elbow got worse (is now starting to feel sliiightly better, 6-7 days after it began), and today I find this rash on my shoulder. Otherwise I feel a little bit fatigued sometimes, possibly due to Truvada, and periods of reduced appetite, but this is also not exactly new the last week (PEP reduced my apetite a little), altho with the fever it probably got further reduced.

    I’ve struggled with stress and anxiety the last 7 days. Can’t tell you if I’ve had stress rashes before. I know the rash appeared a bit late for what you describe as ARS, but I was thinking maybe the PEP is reducing my symptoms and making them appear at different intervals. I’ve been to doctors, but that was before I had the rash. They didn’t think it was acute HIV but couldn’t find another cause, other than possible hypersensitivity to the drugs. And said I should keep getting tested cause they couldn’t say exactly what it was.

    I’m still worried. Would you deem it possible or likely to be slightly milder ARS symptoms due to PEP?

    Thx

    • I have not seen such side effects either with Truvada or Isentress. Neither do your symptoms sound like HIV ARS. I do not with to play down your worries but to me, your symptoms sounds very non-specific and I think your anxiety is causing you to over-interpret your symptoms. Whether or not you have HIV is not a question that can be answered right now. You will have to wait till the window period is over and get a HIV test. Click here for more info on when to test for HIV after PEP.

  251. Dear dr tan

    I’ve been having recurrent mouth ulcers for past week…my exposure was four weeks ago..i took a test and m scared as hell..wat are d chances dt i got hiv from unprotected blowjob dt ended up bruising my penis… (No blood noticed)..

  252. Dr. Tan,

    I chose to post here because you seem to have a clearer way of explaining things than most. I am 41, hetero, and had protected vaginal and unprotected receptive oral (cunnilingus) with a csw exactly 27 days ago. After 10 days from the incident I developed a severe exudative soar throat and my physician gave me a shot of penicillin and a 10 day coarse of amoxicillin. 24 hours after the shot, the back of my throat cleared significantly but my uvula developed several painful ulcers to the right of the midline and remained painful for 10 days before beginning to heal (I have pictures). During that time it was very hard to eat or drink anything. They have since healed and today (day 27 post) I have developed a fever of 101 for no apparent reason. At Day 22 I did go in for what I believe was a 3rd generation rapid test (finger prick) which turned out negative. I have had pretty severe anxiety since the encounter which has led to being short of breath and depressed. I have read that aphthous ulcers in the throat could be an atypical presentation of the entry point of the virus. What is your opinion? I will be going in on day 29 for another identical 3rd gen test in 2 days (day 29). Thank you.

  253. I forgot to add that my right neck lymph nodes were very swollen at the time of the ulcers. No detectable other nodes in the armpit/groin (I am pretty muscular so I don’t know if I am doing it right). At the time of the ulcers no fever as well. The fever now is accompanied by lymph node swelling on both sides of the neck.

    • Thank you for the compliment. First of all, the chance of you catching HIV from your exposure is next to zero. Secondly, although you are right that throat ulcers are a ‘red flag’symptom of HIV, we must also remember that HIV ARS symptoms do NOT develop at 10 days post exposure. Thirdly, since you had a bad throat infection, of course your neck nodes will be swollen. Lastly, the 3rd Gen ELISA at 22 days is already rather indicative. All in all, my money is on the fact that you do not have HIV.

      • Thank you for your prompt reply. Out of posterity, I will post my 29 day result, for other worries like me. :) Thank you

      • Dr. Tan,
        I wanted to make correction on the timeline I presented earlier. The exposure event was on the 18th of August. Soar throat began the 2nd of September. Dr. Visit and penicillin shot on the 3rd and ulcers noticed the 4th of September. Ulcers remained until the 11th and healed completely by the 13th. I have a very good picture of the ulcers that I would like you to see. Thank you for your time.

  254. Hi Dr tan, I had an unprotected sex with a guy (HIV unknown) in 7 weeks ago. However, the symptoms started right after 7 weeks, headache and muscle aching. Could be the symptoms occur on week 7? I did ask him about his health, but he says to me he is clean.

    • Its unlikely to be ARS, but still impossible to conclusively say no. I’d suggest getting yourself tested to be sure. At this juncture you may wish to get a 4th Gen test such as the combo for very indicative results.

      • Thanks so much for your reply! I will go and get tested with him together to make sure everything is okay. Once again thank you so much!

  255. Dear Dr. Tan,

    Thank you for your very useful and informational website.

    I had unprotected intercourse with a Japanese girl (30 years) exactly 16 days ago. From the fourth day after the act till now, I have been having a recurrent sore throat, swollen glands in neck and armpits, muscle aces, and minor fever (37.4C). My illness is going up and down – I feel well for a few days, then ill again (same symptoms).I have been tested and everything came out negative; but I know it is too early to be conclusive.

    Could you please tell me if this appears to be common early ars symptoms? I have been having great anxiety over this matter.

    Thank you in advance for you time.