HIV Symptoms in Men
HIV is a serious sexually transmitted disease that, if left untreated, can easily progress into an even more serious and deadly disease known as AIDS. Men account for around two-thirds of new HIV infections each year, and, though the virus is more difficult for men to contract than it is for women, these statistics prove that the risk is real. As such, men who engage in unprotected sexual activity, either with other men or with women, or who engage in other high-risk behavior, such as having sexual relationships with prostitutes or engaging in intravenous drug use, should be tested regularly.
HIV Symptoms in Men
Many men who are HIV positive are unaware of their condition. This is because a lot of people think that, if they had contracted HIV, they would know it. In truth, though, many men do not experience any symptoms whatsoever for years after contracting HIV. This is dangerous not only because it greatly increases the risk of passing the virus onto others but also because it leaves HIV untreated, allowing it to do more harm in the body than it would with proper treatment and medical care. As such, the presence or lack of symptoms should never be used as a reliable indicator of whether a man has HIV.
With that said, there are some HIV symptoms in men that may occur. When they do, they may include:
- Body rash
- Throat pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sores on the mouth, anus, or genitals
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Excessive sweating
The Importance of Getting Tested
With or without symptoms, any man who thinks he may have contracted HIV or who is at risk for doing so should schedule an HIV test with his doctor. Testing typically involves drawing blood and analyzing it for HIV antibodies. Tests are performed quickly, and results are usually available within a day or so after testing.
It is important to understand, however, that there is a “window period” during which a person may have HIV but may not yet have developed the antibodies that reveal its presence. As such, it is important to be honest with the health care professional who performs the test about when your last risky behavior was. There are new tests that can detect HIV sooner than the more standard antibody test, but your healthcare practitioner will not know to order this test if you are not honest with him or her.
Also bear in mind that, even if you do not have symptoms of HIV, you may still be able to pass the virus onto others. As such, until you know for sure whether or not you have been infected with HIV, it is imperative that you refrain from unprotected sexual activity. If you do test positive for HIV, it is your duty to contact former sexual partners or others who might be at risk so that they can be tested for the virus.
If you are diagnosed with HIV, know that you can still live a long, full, and healthy life. Do not let fear keep you from knowing and protecting yourself against the risks associated with HIV.