23 Dec Ask GTCV: What Are the Symptoms of HIV?

Before you get tested for HIV, you might be wondering, “What are the symptoms of HIV, anyway?”

While it’s always a good idea to see your doctor for health concerns, symptoms are an important way for us to realize that something may be wrong.

But when it comes to HIV, symptoms can’t determine your status. Only an HIV test can.

Why? Well, the virus affects everyone differently. This means one person may show flu-like symptoms a few weeks after contracting the virus. Another person might not show symptoms right away. Symptoms can vary greatly and are not a good indicator of HIV infection. Plus, since the initial symptoms are usually quite similar to those you get with the flu, it’s all too easy to dismiss a fever, fatigue, or aching muscles as the flu.

After this passes, the body goes through a “latent” or “asymptomatic” phase, which means there are no symptoms of HIV at all. Someone with undiagnosed HIV can go years without showing any symptoms, but unfortunately, the virus is continuing to attack the immune system.

Once a person starts to show symptoms of HIV, such as fatigue, night sweats, rapid weight loss, unexplained blotches on the skin, or swollen lymph nodes, the virus may have already progressed to AIDS.

When a person with HIV starts treatment early, their health outcomes are vastly improved – so it’s never a good idea to wait for symptoms before getting an HIV test. Getting tested regularly is the only reliable way to know your HIV status.

Looking for symptoms won’t help you tell if someone else has HIV, either. Here’s GTCV staffer Krystal with the truth about how to tell who has HIV:

Instead of worrying about the symptoms of HIV, you can get real peace of mind about your HIV status with a free and confidential HIV test from Get Tested Coachella Valley. Our team offers testing at community test sites throughout the Coachella Valley, and you can click here to find an HIV test site near you.