ZocdocAnswersIs two weeks too early to be tested for HIV if you are showing some symptoms?

Question

Is two weeks too early to be tested for HIV if you are showing some symptoms?

I am showing more symptoms for the flu than HIV. The symptoms only lasted for four and a half days.

Answer

Acute infection with HIV can present in a variety of ways, some of which can resemble the flu. Many people will develop fevers, malaise, sore throat, joint and muscle aches, and diarrhea. Some will develop a concurrent rash, which can be in many different forms and distributions. The physical exam in acute HIV may reveal enlargement of lymph nodes throughout the body. Fortunately, there are accurate tests that can be used to differentiate these two different illnesses. For the flu, swabs obtained from the back of the throat (through the nose) can be used to detect the presence of the virus. For HIV, it generally takes a few weeks to months to detect the antibody in the patient's blood that is produced in response to transmission of the virus. However, within just 1-2 weeks after infection, it is possible to detect the actual viral particles through the use of different blood tests. If there is suspicion of HIV infection and initial testing returns negative, the test can be repeated at a later date to confirm the result. It is strongly advised that you seek out the care of your primary care physician to discuss the symptoms that you are experiencing. With the use of a thorough medical history, physical exam, and testing, you should be able to get to the bottom of your symptoms and start the appropriate treatment.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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