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HIV Symptoms in Men

What Are Symptoms of HIV in Males?

HIV is transmitted from person-to-person from contact with infected blood, semen and/or vaginal fluid. Having unprotected sex vaginal or anal sex (or oral sex if you have a cut or open sore in your mouth) with an infected partner greatly increases the risk of contracting HIV. HIV can also be transmitted via unsterile drug use, from using infected needles, syringes or drug equipment.

Take Charge of Your Health

Today, about 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV. One in eight people living with HIV don’t realize they are infected. HIV is a serious disease that can lead to death if untreated. Take charge of your life and order our quick & confidential HIV test.

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HIV Symptoms in Men

In 2014, the CDC reported that there were 44,073 new cases of HIV in the United States. Of those cases, 35,571 were diagnosed in men or adolescent males; a total of more than 80 percent of all new HIV cases are in men. Currently, men cannot be cured of HIV. 

In the U.S., HIV is most prevalent in men who have sex with men, gay men and bisexual men, however it is also racially prevalent among black heterosexual men. 

Can you contract HIV if the man doesn’t ejaculate? Yes, because there is pre-seminal fluid that has amounts of HIV in it and almost as much as semen. This amount could be enough to start an infection. If their viral load is high, then there is a greater chance of contracting HIV from pre-seminal fluid. 

If there is a detectable viral load in the body fluids and it gets into the other person’s body, it can then enter into their bloodstream. If the viral load is undetectable, HIV cannot be passed on through any body fluids. Managing the viral load at an undetectable level is possible with effective treatments from a doctor. 

HIV does not survive outside the body for very long. If you come into contact with semen or blood that is outside of the body and has been for some time, then the risk is very low of contracting it. 

Symptoms of HIV in Men

HIV symptoms will vary from case to case, but the following are the most common patterns HIV infections follow.

Upon infection, it may take individuals with HIV 2-4 weeks to exhibit symptoms. Often these symptoms are mistaken for a common cold or flu, rather than HIV. Approximately 80 percent of individuals with an acute HIV infection will experience flu-like symptoms. That being said, sometimes it can take years for symptoms to appear. This is why it is so important for you and your partner to always get tested for HIV before beginning a new sexual relationship. Getting tested for HIV helps individuals seek needed treatment sooner and helps to stop the spread of the virus to others.

There are varying symptoms of HIV in men depending upon the stage of the disease they are in: Acute HIV stage (new infection stage); asymptomatic stage; and the latest, advanced stage known as AIDS.

HIV Symptoms Men

Early HIV symptoms in men in this stage include:

  • Body rash
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Severe headaches

Less common HIV symptoms in men in this stage include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Ulcers on the genitals
  • Night sweats
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches and joint pain

During the acute HIV stage, symptoms most often last one to two weeks.

Asymptomatic stage of HIV in men

Upon the aforementioned symptoms disappearing is when the asymptomatic period of HIV begins. During this stage, an individual with HIV does not exhibit any signs or symptoms of infection. HIV may not cause any more symptoms for months or years, but at this point the virus is still replicating and is starting to break down the body’s immune system by attacking important immune cells. The virus is still active during this stage and can still be transmitted to others, which is why it is important to get tested for HIV even if you do not feel ill.

Advanced stage of HIV symptoms; AIDS

Without treatment, it may take a matter of months or years for HIV to weaken the immune system beyond repair. This progression of HIV is referred to as AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. This last stage of infection means that the body’s immune system is severely damaged, leaving it more susceptible to other infections that it would otherwise be able to fight off if it were not compromised and damaged. It is not uncommon for individuals with AIDS to frequently get colds, flus or fungal infections.

Symptoms men with AIDS may experience include:

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Sores or ulcers in the mouth
  • Sores or ulcers on the genitals
  • Recurring fever
  • Recurring chills
  • Recurring night sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Persistent or prolonged swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Memory loss, confusion or neurological disorders

Prevention is possible by wearing condoms correctly. The latex of the condom prevents the HIV virus from passing through. Oil-based lubes can weaken condoms, but using water-based lubes is perfectly okay. 

HIV Symptoms Male

Getting tested for HIV is the only way to know for sure whether or not you have contracted HIV. The CDC recommends getting tested at least annually, but it is important to get tested anytime you suspect you could have contracted HIV or have been involved in high-risk sexual activity or drug use. Learn your status today; get tested.

Medically Reviewed by on June 5, 2022

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