Q. I have a runny nose, cough with phlegm and red spots on the back after unprotected sex. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Bharatesh Devendra Basti
and medically reviewed by Dr. Preetha J
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 18, 2020 and last reviewed on: Oct 27, 2020

Hi doctor,

I had unprotected sex two weeks ago with somebody I do not know that well. I am bunged up with a runny nose at times these two weeks, my neck hurts, and I have a cough with phlegm. There are a few red spots on my back, and now I am petrified that I have early HIV symptoms.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Thank you for the query.

These are non-specific symptoms. The transmission of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) by unprotected intercourse with an HIV positive person is low. HIV is diagnosed with tests. Go for HIV 1 and 2 RNA QN PCR at this stage and HIV antibodies test after three months of exposure.

Hi doctor,

Thank you for your reply.

I have just done an HIV 1 and 2 Rapid screen test at home. It was negative. Is it not accurate in 16 days? If the symptoms I am having are linked to initial HIV, would the test be positive? Thank you in advance.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Thank you for the query.

If the rapid test is negative, it is good that it will at least tell your baseline HIV status. But not due to the recent exposure. It is unlikely to come positive at an early stage. The symptoms are non-specific and need not be due to HIV. It can be due to any superficial infection due to respiratory contact.You can go for HIV 1 and 2 RNA PCR at this stage to be relieved of your anxiety. It will be more than 95% sensitive at this stage. Later you can go for an HIV antibodies test three months from exposure to have conclusive results and be relieved of anxiety.

Thank you, doctor, for your reply.

Where do I get that test to do at home? I have been searching on the internet and cannot find anything. Are the initial symptoms blocked nose, ears, and neck hurt and coughing up phlegm? If the signs that I am having is because of HIV, would not the test I took today come back positive? I am convinced that I have it.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Thank you for the follow-up query.

The symptoms are non-specific, and it does not suggest HIV. It may be due to any respiratory contact with any person. The chances of transmission of HIV by single unprotected intercourse with an HIV positive person is low. If a person is negative, there is no chance of getting HIV. The antibodies take two to six weeks to appear if exposed to HIV. So it is not good at this stage. You can get the HIV 1 and 2 RNA PCR at this stage to be relieved of your anxiety. Just relax. Not all exposures lead to HIV.

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