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Early HIV Symptoms in Men

author image Rae Uddin
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
Early HIV Symptoms in Men
Man holding his head taking his temperature Photo Credit: IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Getty Images

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 1 million people are infected by the human immunodeficiency virus -- HIV -- in the United States. Early on, symptoms of this disease may mimic other illnesses, such as the flu. Men who experience any of these symptoms should seek medical care right away for an accurate diagnosis.

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Fever and Headache

Fever may occur as an early symptom of HIV infection. Fever symptoms typically exceed 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, often causing sweating, chills or headache. These early HIV symptoms can persist for up to two weeks before resolving.

Ulcers or Skin Rash

An unusual skin rash can appear as an early HIV symptom. Red, irritated patches of skin may develop across the body, including the groin, penis or anus. Skin rash symptoms are typically painless, but the affected skin can appear dry or may begin to itch. Additionally, painful ulcers may develop within the mouth or throat. These early symptoms typically appear approximately one to four weeks after initial exposure to the infection.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Swollen lymph nodes are a common early symptom of HIV. The lymph nodes are a part of the immune system and help protect the body by clearing pathogens from the blood. Enlarged, swollen lymph nodes can appear along a man's neck, underneath his armpits or near his groin. Though these enlarged lymph nodes generally do not cause pain, they can appear persistently swollen for several weeks following symptom onset.

Fatigue or Muscle Aches

Excessive fatigue and unusual muscle aches and pain can occur as early HIV symptoms. Frequent naps may be needed throughout the day to remain energized and the infected person can appear inattentive or disoriented during normal daily activities. Muscle and body aches and pain can exacerbate fatigue.

Sore Throat or Decreased Appetite

Sore throat may occur during the early stage of HIV infection. A sore throat can be uncomfortable and may contribute to difficulty swallowing or decreased appetite. These early HIV symptoms generally subside within approximately four weeks of onset.

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