Early HIV is the beginning stage of HIV disease, right after HIV infection occurs. If you were not aware that your partner is living with HIV, you did not realize you were at risk. During early HIV, the virus is reproducing very rapidly and HIV can be easily passed to others through sex or sharing injection equipment. Early signs of HIV are sometimes called acute HIV infection.
Signs and symptoms of Acute/Early HIV
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands
- Joint and muscle aches
- Mouth sores
The signs and symptoms of acute HIV infection can begin 2 to 4 weeks after you are infected with HIV. Symptoms can last for just a few days or weeks. In rare cases, they could last for several months. The signs and symptoms of early HIV infection are similar to the signs and symptoms of other common illnesses like the flu, cold, sore throat or mononucleosis.
Is it the Flu or Acute/Early HIV?
The symptoms of early HIV and the flu are similar but not the same. If you have the following symptoms, you most likely have the Flu.
- Nasal congestion
If you have the following symptoms, you may have Acute/Early HIV:
Early HIV symptoms:
- Mouth sores
If you are not sure if you have the flu or early HIV, ask yourself the questions below. If your answer to two or more of these questions is yes, it could point to HIV rather than the flu.
- Is there a rash?
- Did you have unprotected sex or share injection equipment in the past few weeks?
- Do you have a new sexually transmitted infection?
Testing for Acute HIV infection
If you think you might have been exposed to HIV within the last 30 days and/ or you have symptoms of early HIV, request an appointment with Apicha CHC. Certain HIV tests can detect HIV as early as 7-10 days after infection took place. By talking with a knowledgeable member of our staff about your symptoms and your recent risk for HIV, we can make sure you get the proper tests to detect early HIV.
Waiting for test results
While waiting for your test results it is very important for you to know that if you have early HIV you can pass the virus to your partners. Until you know your test results you can practice HIV prevention by:
- Abstaining from sexual intercourse
- If you do have sex, be sure to ALWAYS use a condom
- If you use drugs do not share needles or other drug paraphernalia
Treatment of Acute/Early HIV
If you find out you have early signs HIV infection it is recommended that you start treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment helps protect the immune system and also reduces the chances that a person with HIV infection will pass the virus on to their partners. HIV treatment is highly effective, simple to take and has few or no side effects.
All information provided by the New York State Department of Health. For more information on Acute/Early HIV, visit their website.
How Apicha CHC Can Help You
At Apicha CHC, we are very proud of our viral load suppression rate for all our patients, the number of our patients on PrEP, and the number of people we get tested.
Our healthcare providers are specialists in HIV prevention, treatment, and care. If you come for testing and remain for care at our community health center, you will receive consistent treatment from a healthcare provider who can attend to all of your health needs including HIV.
There are three ways we can help:
1. HIV Testing
We provide completely confidential HIV testing services at Apicha CHC. To sign up for our HIV Testing services, click here and select HIV/STD testing from the drop down.
2. We can get you PrEP
If you become part of Apicha CHC's PrEP Program, you will be assigned a medical provider at Apicha CHC who will assess whether PrEP is right for you and will prescribe you Truvada as PrEP.
Our PrEP staff can also help you:
- Enroll in insurance or sign you up for special PrEP cost programs
- Set up your appointments
- Remind you when your pills are running out
- You can easily pick-up your prescription at Apicha CHC's brand new in-house pharmacy or you can use our free delivery service!
You can request an appointment to get started on PrEP here. Be sure to select appointment type as "Access to PrEP/PEP".
3. Become a part of our HIV Clinic
If you know you're HIV-positive and don't currently have a medical provider or aren't happy with the one you do have, feel free to become a part of the Apicha CHC family.
You can request an appointment here. Be sure to select appointment type as "Primary Medical Care".