Do You Have HIV? What Are The Symptoms? Can I Catch HIV From Oral Sex?

Do You Have HIV? What Are The Symptoms? Can I Catch HIV From Oral Sex?

Here at Head Start Testing we are often asked what the symptoms of HIV are. Another common question is what degree of risk a particular act carries as far as infection by the HIV virus.

What Are The Symptoms HIV

Let us firstly look at the virus and it symptoms. 

Like any viral infection, the virus will trigger the production of antibodies. This phase is referred to as Seroconversion and typically takes place between 1 and 6 weeks. At this stage the individual may display what is referred to as seroconversion illness but they will not yet test positive for HIV antibodies. The standard upper level of the HIV window period for detecting antibodies is 3 to 6 months. During seroconversion this stage the person infected with may experience glandular fever type symptoms such as fatigue, fever, headaches and swollen glands. Unfortunately all these symptoms can also be experienced form a common flu and additionally in many cases of HIV infection the patient will show no symptoms at all. So the final answer to the question on symptoms is that no distinctive symptoms exist and as such they can in no way be used to determine if an individual has the virus or not. Testing is the only way to determine an individual's status. If you are at all worried your health symptoms could be HIV symptoms, test for HIV, it is the only way you will know. 

Secondly, many individuals are uncertain if the behaviour they feel may have placed them at risk from HIV infection is in fact a true risk. Generally speaking the vast majority of HIV infections occur through unprotected sex, needle sharing (syringes, tattoo needles) or contaminated blood transfusions. Each sexual encounter has its own risk level with unprotected anal sex being extremely high whilst unprotected oral sex is extremely low. Technically any act with a positive partner that involves the exchange of body fluid, in particular sexual fluid such as semen or vaginal liquids carries a potential risk of HIV infection. Hygiene practices also play a part in the risk or frequency of transmission. Studies have shown that cultures that do not wash after sex, thus allowing longer contact with body fluids are at higher risk. That said, it is of course possible to contract HIV from a single sexual contact with an infected individual and that no matter of post sex washing will avoid the virus entering your blood stream. If you have practiced any act that is technically an HIV risk, then you should take an HIV test with a medical professional or purchase an home test kit online from Head Start Testing 

Testing for HIV has made considerable progress in recent years and is now easily accessible for those who prefer to self-test for HIV. Whichever method you choose you should ensure that if you are worried about symptoms or feel you have been exposed to an positive individual, that you test for it as soon as possible.

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