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"Are a runny nose and sneezing a sign of HIV?"


I had sex with an HIV-person a few weeks ago, and now I have a runny nose and I'm sneezing. Is that a sign that I contracted the virus? I know it's vague information, but until I can take the antibody test (in a couple months, right?), then this is the best I have to go on.


Anytime someone has an unprotected sexual encounter with a person with a known transmissible disease, it can be a source of extreme anxiety. Of course, I cannot give you the answer as to whether you were exposed or not, but I can give you information on what the early stage of HIV is typically like. The Acute HIV Syndrome (AKA Acute Retroviral Syndrome) is a flu-like illness that occurs between 2 and 4 weeks after exposure (within the window you are referring to).

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Symptoms include fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle soreness. The symptom of runny nose and sneezing is on the list of possibilities, but this is fairly non-specific. The symptoms then last for up to 2 weeks and resolve. Most patients that are exposed to HIV get this syndrome. I would suggest a couple things. Start with using condoms for every sexual encounter. This will give you a piece of mind that you are protecting yourself. Second, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to get checked out. He or she will not be able to tell you whether you have HIV or not, but they may be able to evaluate you for any other cause for your symptoms. Plus you can get additional counseling on HIV prevention strategies. In a couple months, you can get the HIV test. Good luck.

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