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Can HIV symptoms appear 5 to 6 weeks after exposure?

Can HIV symptoms appear 5 to 6 weeks after exposure?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At August 12, 2017
Reviewed AtMay 22, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I am a 31 year old male, and my query is regarding possible HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) exposure. Four months back, I had a sexual encounter with two female partners. I had insertive vaginal sex and received oral sex. Intercourse had lasted for about five minutes twice with each partner. Condoms were used throughout and were changed for every partner. I do not recall any of the condoms breaking or slipping off completely. About a week or so after the encounter, I experienced some health-related concerns, one after another. I got an eye stye, inside of the eyelid, which was little painful and irritating. It went away in a week. I got a boil, nearly an inch in diameter, in the lower abdomen, which subsided in a week. I also got a white area behind the wisdom tooth. This area was painful during the initial 3 to 4 days, then the pain subsided, and the white area started growing bigger. OPG and clinical examination suggested impacted wisdom tooth and trauma caused by friction of upper and lower wisdom teeth. So, I got both the wisdom teeth extracted. Now, it is normal. I also had a skin tag in the underarm area, which turned painful, hard, and dark purplish. One or two light reddish spots in the adjoining area. They resolved in 7 to 8 days. I have high blood pressure and triglycerides. My triglycerides were 292, which dropped to 195 after 10 days without medication. I got a severe headache one night, which went away next morning. I feel light-headed while walking, staring at the computer, etc., but not when lying down for 5 to 6 days. This happened concurrently with the diagnosis of high triglycerides and BP. I also have diarrhea type condition, that is, I have bowel movements thrice a day, which lasted for 9 to 10 days. My gastroenterologist remarked ‘no abnormalities detected.’ I took antibiotics and other medicines for the dental problem few days before this. I do not have a fever or any unusual skin rash. I do not have unusual body ache or weight loss or loss of appetite. I also do not have any apparent swollen glands. My creatinine and TSH test reports are normal. My LDL is normal, and HDL is little lower than normal. Assuming either of my partners was HIV positive, what is the chance of me contracting his? Does any of the above health concerns related to HIV? Does HIV symptoms, if any, appear together or can appear one after another? What is the most likely period after exposure when symptoms appear, if at all? In other words, is it likely for HIV symptoms to show after 5-6 weeks? I realize HIV infection can be confirmed only by a test. However, I sincerely request a prompt and clear response to the above queries, which will help me cut down the fear. Thank you.

Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com.

The answers to your queries are as follows: The risk of contracting HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) during protected insertion vaginal sex, as you have described, is non-existent. Receiving oral sex carries negligible to low risk of HIV acquisition, especially, if there are fresh cuts or bleeding gums of the partner. Symptoms which you have mentioned could be due to multiple reasons and not necessarily due to HIV. There are no HIV-specific symptoms or signs, which can lead to the diagnosis of HIV. The only way to know if you have HIV or any other sexually transmitted infection is to get tested for it. The majority of people who are infected with HIV develop symptoms in the initial 1-4 weeks after infection, and these are usually flu-like symptoms and mimic usual viral infection, and it is then followed by a long symptom-free period.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you so much for your much appreciated and valued response. This is quite in line with what you had stated a few days ago, too, in response to my query on this forum, and this is what I have read on the internet as well. I realize more clarity is hardly possible in the absence of a test. So, I would request you to respond to my final queries kindly. My parents and I have suffered several major setbacks in the past one year or so, one after another, and I do not wish to go for a test at this stage, fearing my worst fear will come true. However, in the future, maybe few months down the line, what are the conclusive tests I might get done? I understand there are no HIV-specific symptoms which can lead to the diagnosis of HIV. However, are issues like high triglycerides, light-headedness, infected skin tag, etc. common or possible with HIV infection in the initial stages? Thank you.

Hi, Welcome back to icliniq.com.

You can get rapid HIV antibody test, which can be done from any accredited lab of your city. The rapid test gives a report in just 20 minutes. You need to get the test now, as it is already three months of the exposure andif the result is negative, get it repeated at six months of last exposure. As I mentioned, these can be due to multiple reasons and cannot be attributed to HIV specifically. Just let me know if you have any other question, please do not hesitate.

Best wishes.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Ravinder K. Sachdeva
Dr. Ravinder K. Sachdeva

HIV/AIDS specialist

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