A HIV diagnosis is not the death sentence it was in the 1980s. When a person receives their diagnosis it is life changing and can feel like all hope is lost. But with the developments in medication and support services that are available, people living with HIV can live full and positive lives.
- Approximately 70-90% of people recently diagnosed with HIV experience early symptoms. These can occur about a week to ten days after HIV infection, and can include flu-like symptoms such as a sore throat and fever, fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea and a rash on the chest.
- Around a week to ten days after HIV infection takes place, symptoms can occur which are the result of the body reacting to HIV infection (clinically referred to as ‘seroconversion’).
- The most common symptoms of recent HIV infection are severe flu-like symptoms, including a sore throat and fever, and a rash on the chest. Other symptoms can include fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea.
- Around 70-90% of people recently infected with HIV experience these symptoms, and they are unusual in otherwise healthy people so should indicate the need for an HIV test if they occur within six weeks of sex without a condom (especially with a new or casual partner).
After two to three weeks these symptoms will disappear, and even if you see a doctor they may fail to recognise the signs of early HIV infection. A person with HIV may then live for many years without any further symptoms or indications that they are HIV positive.
What should I do if experience symptoms of recent HIV?
If you experience these symptoms of early HIV infection and you have recently put yourself at risk (had sex without a condom or shared injecting needles or drug equipment) then you should have a HIV test.