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Cough, sore throat and rash – are these signs of HIV or ARS?

HIV (Human immunodefiency virus) is an incurable disease that gradually weakens your immune system making you more susceptible to other diseases. If left untreated for long enough you may progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

ARS or acute retroviral syndrome includes symptoms that you may experience in the early stages of HIV infection. The HIV symptoms are often described as ‘the worst flu ever’ and usually show 2-4 weeks after exposure. These symptoms may include but are not limited to:

However, these symptoms are also seen in many other, more common conditions such as the common cold, flu, normal viral infections, and may even be environmental (for example smoking may cause sore throat and cough).

If someone truly has been recently infected with HIV, up to 70% may experience these ARS symptoms. But since the symptoms are so varied and can overlap with many other conditions it is important to note that just because you have them does not mean you have HIV. To reiterate – many new HIV infections will cause ARS symptoms but many people experiencing what they believe to be ARS will not have HIV.

Also Read

HIV Window Period

Can HIV survive outside the body?

The moral to this article is that acute HIV infection are not specific enough to diagnose HIV. If you have had a risky exposure or just want to be 100% sure then the only way to put your mind at rest is to get tested.

I hope that whoever reads this article can now rest a little easier knowing that the symptoms they are experiencing are less likely to be caused by HIV but the best plan is to get tested to be sure.


Need more advice?

Come down to Our Clinics for a discussion with Our Doctors, or call our clinics for more information.


  1. Question

    Doctor, I’d like to ask your expertise to answer my questions. I hope you can help me.

    Is there a risk to transmit when sharing a drinking straw? I read somewhere that saliva has a risk if there are cuts, wounds or sores in the mouth. I don’t know if the person has any cuts, sores, or wounds in his mouth and I did not notice any blood on the straw. However, I had two cuts in my mouth that time and infected molars. The crown of my molars have been hollowed and my gums were swollen and very painful that time. I used the straw maybe a second or two after the person who used it. Was there a risk in this situation? Should I get tested?

    Please help answer my question. Thank you.

    • There is no risk of HIV transmission from sharing straws or other utensils.

      • Question

        Even if I have wounds in my mouth? And a tooth infection (My molars were hollowed out and were very painful during that time.)?

      • Question

        Doctor, 21 days after the incident, I developed an itchy throat. There were also stabbing headaches and muscle aches. On Day 25, I had a terrible headache and developed a few red spots on my legs. And then there was nausea and the itchiness in my throat has continued. Should I get a test? Please help answer my question.

  2. Couch Potato

    It wasn’t a needlestick injury. The nurse had her back against me when she opened the needle so I wasn’t sure if it was new or not. So if the needle was reused, there is a risk to be infected?

  3. Apple Blackberry

    Hi. I received vaginal sex 12 weeks ago. 10 weeks after the incident, I tested negative on an Ag/Ab test. 12 days after that test, I had another Ag/Ab test which is also non-reactive. 16 days after the test (4 days after the test), I developed a very sore throat, fever, and chills. Please, I’m worried because I did not see the needle opened during my 10-week test. Can needles for blood draw be reused? If yes, can that infect? I’m worried because my symptoms are typical of ARS and they developed 16 days after that test which is again typical of ARS. Will the test at 12 days after that incident be of any comfort? If my symptoms at 16 days were ARS, shouldn’t the test at 12 days be postive because there would be antigens? Please, doctor. Help me.

    • I would consider your 10 and 12 week tests as conclusive. It would not be normal practice to reuse needles in any form of healthcare facility, so in that regard I would just say you are being a bit paranoid. However, if you are still concerned, it is best to visit us for a proper consult and evaluation.

  4. Couch Potato

    Doctor, I went in for an HIV test two weeks ago. The results are non-reactive. However, now I am worried because exactly 2 weeks later, I felt scratchy throat which is now a cough. Also had mild fever for a day. Could these be ARS symptoms? What is the risk of getting infected if the clinic that I went to reused a needle? I know that this does not happen on purpose but what if a used needle was used by accident? I am very worried about this cough. Please help.

    • There is not enough information for me to be able to comment on whether your symptoms may or may not be due to ARS. While I highly doubt that a clinic would reuse a needle, the theoretical risk of HIV transmission from a needlestick injury is about 1:300.

      • Couch Potato

        It wasn’t a needlestick injury. The nurse had her back against me when she opened the needle so I wasn’t sure if it was new or not. So if the needle was reused, there is a risk to be infected?

  5. Dr i got tested neg for hiv combo at 12 weeks or 84 days and hcv antibody. But i am had continuing diarrhea this 2 weeks. Is tht posdible the ars? Am my test cobclusive?

  6. AlldayThoughts

    I tested non-reactive on an HIV Ag/Ab Combo (Architect) 7 weeks and 3 days after having unprotected vaginal sex. At around the same time, I got diagnosed with bronchitis by my pulmonologist. A week before that, he initially diagnosed me with asthma, acute rhinitis and possible viral pharyngitis. I was given asthma medication and anti-histamine. When I came back for my follow-up check up a week later, my symptoms have worsened – phlegmy cough, runny nose, congestion. He mentioned that a viral infection could have overlapped with the asthma and rhinitis. The HIV test happened a few days between these two diagnosis. The worse part hee is after the HIV test and after the bronchitis diagnosis, my symptoms got worse. For the past 2 days, I’ve been having headaches. The headache starts from my neck going up to the back of my head. Mostly, my head feels really heavy and feels like it’s being pressed on different sides. It’s most painful when I try to look down and pick something up from the ground. It feels like the blood is rushing to my head. Also, I woke up with a bitter metallic taste in my mouth. Today, I’ve been feeling on and off under the weather.

    1. Could the viral infection (bronchitis) be ARS symptoms? Can ARS symptoms appear 7-8 weeks after having unprotected sex?
    2. How accurate is an HIV Ag/Ab Combo (Architect) at 7 weeks and 3 days?

    I’m afraid that I tested non-reactive at 7 weeks and 3 days because my symptoms then were really due to asthma and allergies but I’m scared that the viral infection (bronchitis) that overlapped it and that showed up after the HIV test may be ARS symptoms.

  7. Woman Worried

    Hi, Doctor.

    I had unprotected sex with a guy of unknown status almost 8 weeks ago. I had CMIA 4th gen tests after 4 weeks and another one at 5 weeks and 3 days from the date of the sexual incident.

    Are these tests conclusive? After the second test, I developed a dry cough (this was 5 weeks and 5 days after sex) that has been going on until now, 7 weeks and 3 days after the incident. (The cough initially started as post nasal drip on the 4th week. I started coughing at around 5 weeks and a day after the incident but like I mentioned, it became a full blown cough at around 5 weeks and 5 days.)

    On 6 weeks and 5 days after sex, I also had a headache for half a day, slightly letahrgic (or I could just be anxious), and the area above my breasts look a little flushed.

    Am I experiecing ARS?? Should I retest? How accurate are the cmia tests at 4 weeks and after 5 weeks?

    • I would consider 4th gen testing conclusive from 4 weeks onwards, so no your symptoms would not be due to ARS.

  8. I had 3 time protected vaginal sex with csw girl but she used oil on her vagina as it was paining her. And also had long unprotected oral sex on her. I read that oil destroys and degrades condoms. My condom got white patched as it seem that it was degraded but did not broke as i tested it by filling it with water. Now on day 5 I visited other town at my cousin home where i got severe throat infection seem like boils in throat which were painful. But went away in 2 days by using antibiotics. On day 7 i got white patches on paletine tonsils which was not paining and dry cough as it seem that something sticky cough was stucked for 25 days straight. It went by using anti bacterial medicine for 5 days. I also had red very itchy palms n anxiety sweating for few times in 4th week which went away in 3-6 hours. I also had severe sweating hands and sleeplessness at night due to tension not due to night sweats and feeling sleepy and tired in the office. Now on day 36 i.e. after 5 weeks I checked my hiv by using rapid tridot antibody test. It was nonreactive. I am damned frustrated as these seemed hiv symptoms. Is tridot test conclusive after 5 weeks ??? I checked on youtube and other sites that these symptoms I think of dying all the time for the mistake i made. Feeling guilty. Plz help.

    • The dry cough was not severe n went on for a week but feeling stuck was far 25 days.

    • Dr. Julian Ng


      As indicated on my previous reply, HIV tridot is a 3rd generation HIV test. Thus, the recommendation is to repeat after 3 months. Yes, oil can degrade the integrity of condoms. As for your symptoms, please visit a doctor for further evaluation as they may not be related to HIV.

      • Condom degraded but not broken can cause hiv…???

  9. Dear docter,
    Ur article and site are very helpful. I had protected vaginal sex 36 days with a csw girl but unprotected oral sex on her. After 6 days white patches on my tonsil were there with little cough and felt cough is stuck in throat but no pain at all. Also had anxiety and red palms with sweat for 15-20 mins when anxiety increases. No other symptoms present. My tridot test at 36th day was non reactive. I m really worried. Plz reply.

    • Plz reply sir. I m really stressed out. Dont know what to do. Is tridot antibody test accurate at 35th day. I also had rashes on hands which was ichy but it was getting away after 3-4 hours with no spot.
      Plz reply sir.

    • Dr. Julian Ng


      The risk of HIV transmission via oral sex is very low. Tridot HIV test is a 3rd Generation test and thus if you tested within 3 months post-exposure, you will need to repeat after 3 months. please see a doctor about your symptoms as they may not be HIV related.

      • Condom degraded but not broken can cause hiv…??? As I had tested it afterwards by filling it with water which did not leaked…

        • Dr. Julian Ng


          Degradation of condom can potentially increase risk of HIV transmission. There is no way to know if that occurred.

  10. Very Worried

    Hi Doctor,

    I had protected sex and received unprotected oral from a sex worker in Vietnam on December 5. I am really unsure if the condom was fully intact because I did not check afterwards, and I believe the condom was a Vietnamese branded condom, so don’t know if it can be trusted.

    At 4 weeks I began having a sore throat and coughing a bit. I read that this could have been pharyngitis and could be a symptom of ars. I also had a sore on the inside of the side of my mouth. I also had a tingling/flashing sensation in my feet especially when I’m about to fall asleep which caused difficulty trying to fall asleep. However, at this point I did not have a fever nor rash. I am from Australia and went to get a test done at this 4 week mark which came back negative. The test noted as being an antibody and antigen test, not sure if this is the same as the 4 generation combo test which has been described on this website.

    At the 6 week mark I went to do another test. It was noted as being antibody and antigen test. Again not sure if this is the 4 generation combo test and if it was the same as the test performed at 4 weeks. The test came back negative. However, 5 days after I got the test done I became extremely worried when I noticed 2 singular raised red rashes/spots about 1 cm in diameter, and each rash at identical locations on either side of my collar just next to my neck. My doctor doesn’t really know what these rashes are, and I felt she wasn’t too informative about hiv and hiv testing matters. To make matters worse a website has a picture which looks very similar to my rash and it was deemed an ars rash.

    Is it possible that I have still have possible symptoms of ars and that the test result at 6 week is a false negative meaning that my body hasn’t produced enough for detection? Can excessive alcohol consumption and smoking reduce the body’s ability to produce enough antibodies for early detection at 6 weeks? I am a smoker and I drink regularly but rarely do I catch the flu or other illnesses.

    My deepest apologies if I sound ill-informed in any way. I really appreciate your response to my concerns. Thank you.

    • I would consider both of your tests conclusive already (and yes, they are 4th generation tests). Symptoms of ARS are due to seroconversion, so no it is not possible to have ARS symptoms without detectable levels of either antigen or antibody. You do not have to worry.

  11. johnfreeman


    I had a relatively low risk exposure with a Korean prostitute last year(unprotected oral, protected vaginal). 20 minutes later I went to take a shower and noticed I had some vaginal fluid on my balls. A couple of days after(may have been 24 hours, don’t remember) I was in the ER with a persistent cough that subsided after a couple of days.

    I did an Oraquick that was negative at 6 months but hearing that it may not be accurate I decided to go for an 4th gen ELISA and a rapid blood test at 10 months which were both negative but during that time I was taking prednisone for a week and I read online that prednisone can seemingly cause a false negative. I decided to repeat the 4th gen ELISA at 14 and 16 months and have still remained negative. I have also had slightly swollen lymph nodes behind my left ear since May but had them biopsied and turned up nothing.

    I guess my question is can prednisone cause seroreversion, even if taken for a short period of time? It seems that seroreversion can occur with long term use, but I haven’t found any information about short term use of prednisone. I assume that if prednisone could cause that degree of immunosuppresion and I was HIV positive I’d be in full blown AIDS by now. I was considering going for an RNA PCR but am concerned with the rate of false positives.

  12. Hi Doc

    I’d unprotected sex with a homeless girl 5 months. As soon as I finished, i saw a small slit on head of my private part and little bit of blood on it. She wiped off that blood with a small wet wipe.
    Since then i’ve done the following tests:

    11th day – PCR RNA qualitative test [ HIV1/2, HBV, HCV ] at a Private clinic – not detectable

    29th day – DUO(4th generation test), Syphilis, Hep b, gonorrhea, Chlamydia at GUM clinic – Negative

    45th day – DUO(4th generation test) at a Private clinic – Negative

    59th day – DUO(4th generation test), Syphilis, Hep b, gonorrhea, Chlamydia at GUM clinic – Negative

    73rd day – viral load [Hiv1] at a Private clinic – less than 40 copies.

    86th day – DUO(4th generation test) at GUM clinic – Negative

    139th day – Insti (HIV), DUO(4th generation test), Syphilis, Hep b antigen, hep c, gonorrhea, Chlamydia at GUM clinic – Negative

    Post 2 weeks of incident eyes become red and dry. Still they are red.
    After a month of the incident, under jaw submandibular lymph nodes were having swelling which has just gone away couple of days ago.Lower back ache not going away. not sure whether this is a symptom or not.

    GUM clinic said to come back post 6 months from the incident to confirm hep c.
    As blood was involved in my case so is it possible that the hep c which is not detected yet could have caused the delay in HIV’s sero-conversion?

  13. Sir,
    I had a needle exposure.From the same day I had fever body and muscle pain.A mild sore throat headache and some white spots in mouth. I tested negative at 5 weeks of the post exposure by 3rd generation(immunochromotograpgy). I have read the chart in your website that from 28 days antibodies can be detectable by 3rd generation. Could I continue to worry for hiv. Thank you for your valuable time.

  14. Hello doc, I visited your clinic last week at 15 days post exposure (condom break with CSW) and did the HIV combo test which tested negative. I’m taking PEP too and have been having rashes since day 10 post exposure. Please advise is it possible to have ARS and yet test negative for HIV with the combo test at 15 days post exposure?

    Appreciate your advise.

    • I do not believe that your rashes would be from ARS with you on PEP and a negative HIV test at 15 days. However, if you have concerns please drop by again so we can assess the rash.

      • Hello Dr Jonathan, Thank you. I’ve visited your clinic at Robertson walk on 14 days post exposure (taking PEP) and on the completion of PEP (28 days, 5th oct) and did the HIV combo test which tested negative for both test (1st test by Dr Taufik and 2nd test by Dr Jonathan). I’ve been having rashes since day 4 post exposure (upper chest). But today it seems to have more rashes on my upper chest (5 days post pep). Is it the side effects of Truvada and Edurant? If it is, how Long will it take for the medication to clear out of my system? Or could it even be PEP failure (ars symptoms) Appreciate your advise. Thank you. Regards K*n**dy

        • I do not think it is likely that you would have a reaction at this point if it was from PEP. I also am 100% confident it is not from HIV. That being said, we cannot really make a proper assessment unless you come down in person for examination of this rash.

          • Thank you Dr Jonathan for your prompt reply. I will be coming down to the clinic this week.

  15. Hi Dr. Tan,
    August 16 I started PEP treatment less than 15 hours after exposure (broken condom . I am a top guy)
    I took each dose on time every day for 30 days
    Sept 8 I played with a guy just rubbing my penis in different part of his body (no penetration no oral sex, but I noticed later that I had small cut in my penis. So this happened 24 days after I started Pep.
    Sept. 14 I finished PEP
    Sept 15 tested neg on HIV test 4th generation.
    Sept 19 I had fever and headache for 5 hours and fever disappeared. Headache moderate and disappeared after.
    I dont have any other symptoms today sept 24.

    I have next test in 3 weeks. I am so scared as I think the most dangerous symptom is fever. Have you ever had any case about any patient having fever and headache after 4-5 days of finishing PEP? and tested negative a few weeks later? please help!!!

    • I do not believe you have anything to worry about. Do your tests at the appropriate time – I am 100% confident you will be perfectly fine.

  16. Brian

    Dear doctor !
    I have few red spots on my right chest near my shoulder after 2 weeks since i performed oral sex on a guy without condom ( He ajaculated in my mouth ) . These spots are not itch . i’m worrying if that were HIV rash . Although many experts said that Oral sex is low risk but i”m still concern … I hope you would give me more advices as it could help me to lessen my stress . Thank you very much .

    • Your article is very helpful but still I am worried to hell. I had sex with a call girl 20 days back. She sucked my penis without protection. At first my precum was present but I removed it by a cloth. Then she did oral without condom but I didnot ejaculate in her mouth. Then we had sex 2 times with protection. Now I hav small rash on my testicles n penis area which form like white dry skin peeling off without any pain (like ezcema) and little cough, little bit runny nose and mild sore thoart without pain. Plz reply. I am worried to hell.

      • Now i hav dry cough and nausea too… Vomiting sensation but no dierrhea…

        • At 20 days

          • Your exposure is essentially zero risk for HIV. If you have other symptoms, please see a doctor for proper assessment.

          • I am also having breathlessness issue with muscle pain in one arm…
            And what other symptoms u are reffering to… Plz reply… Thanks

          • Sir i am having folliculitis rash now on my trunk and neck… Is it a sign of hiv on 34th day… Plz reply… Lack of appetite n lots of stress…

          • Plz reply sir

          • Like I have said multiple times, you do not have HIV. But there are other potential causes for your symptoms and you should see a doctor instead of being paranoid over HIV and potentially delaying another diagnosis.

          • The rash is pink in color slightly raised with peeling blister in between like nail marks. It is from last 3 days

          • The rash is pink in color slightly raised with peeling blister in between like nail marks. It is from last 3 days. Itchy at start then gets normal, and i am circumcised too. I didnot had severe sore throat or fever. Thanks for ur reply.

  17. Hi Dr Tan,

    i had casual sex with unknown status guy last two weeks, prior to that at 11am i been in hospital to giv sample of serum. they get my blood thru seringe from the center part of my hand near ankle.at 5pm i had sex i forgot that there was a little wound in my hand wer the blood taken, my sex pertner shot his sperm in my stomuch and clean it with big towel.then i touched my wound. after two days i got sick for two weeks. cough.
    is this a sign of hiv? thank u.

  18. Vikram kn

    Thank you so much for your wonderful paper on living with HIV just like living with daibates o blood pressure.. It really helped me a lot.. I was put on pep for 28 days.. and I did duo test after 2 weeks of pep and it’s non reactive.. I’m waiting for 2 more months for conclusive .. but this article helped me a lot

    • I am glad you found our article useful. The Duo test at 2 weeks is very indicative. I am confident you will be free of HIV. All the best to you.

  19. Hi Dr. Tan…i am a male and I had unprotected sex with a female in June 2016. A couple of weeks later I noticed a mild rash on both my left and right inner elbows (where the crease is). Only on those spots, not anywhere else. The rash was itchy, but I felt sometimes I had to force myself not to try and itch it, and it wouldn’t bother as much. It never went above into my arms or anywhere in the trunk area. It went away by itself around without me putting any kind of ointment a month or so later, though I did notice my left inner elbow happen to start up again but once again mildly. That was also the only symptom I noticed Other than a chronic mild post nasal drip for about 6 months now. I’ve been stressing about it for a long time now, and I was wondering if you could help me understand if this something worth stressing out aboutt? Is this in any kind of way a sign I might have contracted HIV? I have also tested negative for chlaymida and gonnerrhea. Thank you doctor.

    • Dear Shawn

      In my opinion the itchy rash over your elbow flexors could be due to a various skin infection / condition .You would require a formal assessment by a doctor also, in view of your chronic post nasal drip symptoms.

      It is good that you have tested yourself for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
      However , I recommend you getting tested for other STDs and HIV as you had unprotected sex.

  20. May I apologise if my words using in these comments are so weird.

    First, let me brief about me. I am now 28 years old. My ex-girl and me was divorced and I tried to reduce my depression and sadness by going to online and make appointment with call girls at some hotels. But after some time, I know that I am making mistake and stop it totally.

    Ok let me stop my story and apologise to kindly explain me to solve my worries.

    22.07.2014 – I oral sex with a call girl. I licked and sucked vagina because I thought HIC cannot transmit by oral. I think I wrongly swallowed too but after that I had sexed with condom.

    24.07.2014 – 15.8.2014 – I sex with 2 call girls at different days with condom too. I don’t do oral sex, but she give me blowjob without condom.

    24.10.2014 – HIV Tested (Lab Test) and Negative.

    2.11.2014 – 9.1.2015 – I sex with 3 call girls at different days with condom too. I don’t do oral sex, but she give me blowjob without condom.

    After that, I stop sex totally because I start to worry by knowing that even condom cannot protect 100%. Am I get HIV?

    I got Skin Tag and Sebaceous Cyst (as per Doctor mentioned in medical report) around January 2015 and got operation at 7.2.2015. Is it symptom of HIV?

    I got fevers (cough, sore throat and fatigue) after these but no more than 4 days but happens one time per month. Sometimes home medicine is enough to fight fever.

    I got lower behind neck and lower back ache untill now everyday but no less or more. Is it symptom of HIV?

    I got shingles at lower belly around March 2015 but it is not so severe and went out within 2 weeks. Doctor say it may be due to childhood chickenpox but I am not sure I got it a childhood. Is it symptom of HIV that appears look like a half belt at lower belly?

    I got diarrhea sometimes with fever and sometimes without fever but it appear no more than one day and go out again and use to happen one time per 3 months.

    I don’t vomit.

    I bloating without feeling of nausea. Just bloat air only and happen frequently almost everyday especially I am under work stress. I have big belly too and I never lose weight but gain weight even more.

    I don’t lose appetite. I can eat everything.

    Start from last month (October 2016) till now, I feel bloating in day times and itchy throats and sometimes dry cough everyday till now. Is it symptom of HIV?

    I feel tiredness, back fatigue and sleepiness all time in this year 2016 till now and no worsen and lessen. I sleep from 2 AM to 6:00 PM. And I feel boreness on my works. Is it symptom of HIV?

    Please kindly help me to answer my questions. I can give almost exact dates of symptoms that means I am really worrying about HIV infections and if happen, I will lose my job, social, some friends and feel shy in my family and relatives.

    • Why are you doing this to yourself? The solution to your worries is mind-bogglingly simple. Your last exposure was in Jan 2015 yes? That is according to your own account. So right now, go to your nearest clinic/hospital, get a HIV test and put yourself out of your misery. Isn’t that a lot better than what you are doing now which is basically jumping at every little symptom you get?

  21. JULY 27, 2016
    can hiv virus transmitt through using alum?
    Actually Here in India, I had been to a barber for a
    head shave. During shaving there was a cut
    and the barber used a piece of alum to stop the
    bleeding which is a common process here.I
    noticed that he used this alum to a person having
    Hiv.so can i get infected

  22. Paranoid

    Hi Doctor,

    I had a contact with a guy 3 weeks ago. He stroked his penis and then he stroked mine later. He licked my ears and then he pressed his finger against my anus but he didn’t insert it into my anus. He also licked my nipples. I thought such activities do not carry any risk of HIV but 2 weeks later, I have a cold that lasts 2 weeks and runny nose and bodyaches. I’m not sure whether he had any cuts on his finger or whether his finger was bleeding when he pressed it against my anus. Could I have been infected and do I need to go for a test?

  23. Callum

    Hi doctor i had unprotected sex with a female unknown status and I started getting sore throat a week later and a high fever and shivers at night . It’s been 3 weeks now and i still have these symptoms ??? Possibly HIV?

  24. I was worried that i might infected with hiv, for i had an unprotected sex with a woman i met online. I took a test using this hiv kit (fujibio hiv kit)i bought online, 3 mos after my risk sex encounter and the result was negative. My question is. Isthis kit reliable? or my result is conclusive?

    • I have never heard of the fujibio HIV kit and therefore cannot comment on its accuracy. As a general guide, you should always verify your home test HIV results with your doctor.

  25. Hi,

    I had an exposure 6 weeks ago.

    Took a HIV Antibody Test – Enhanced Chemiluminescence Immunoassay at the 25th Day post exposure.

    Can you suggest how indicative this test is at what generation does it belong to.

    At 6 weeks, I have developed a rash all over my body, mainly my hands and the collar area, but no fever or sore throat.

    Have 2 questions –
    Is it possible to get only the rash as the symptom and post 6 weeks?

    What are the chances that this rash is indicative that i am infected.



    • Sounds like you did a 3rd generation test. At 6 weeks this test is as good as conclusive. You should be looking for other possible causes of your rash eg Syphilis.

  26. Hi doctors i had unprotected oral sex and protected sex with a girl whom i barley know who was a tourist to singapore.today is exactly 2weeks and 1 day.i was having coold yst with nausea and feeling to vommit.when i saw the mirror it was like rash on my face,had diarhhea twice.are this symptoms of hiv or any other sickness?pls help me out docs….

    • The rash on my face are giving me burning sensation.

  27. Hello dr thank you for taking the time to answer my question does the rash that presents itself in acute infection always accompany a fever i had unprotected oral sex with ejaculation i was the giver they ejaculated in my mouth i started pep 60 hours after exposure i have had a 11 day dna pcr test after pep completion negative and a fourth generation hiv test 11 days after pep negative

  28. Hi Dr,
    In mid May 2015, I had a protected sex with a sex worker oversea. She given me a blowjob with condom and then proceed to sexual intercourse. After ejaculated, when I pulled out my penis, I was shocked that my semen was dripping out from my condom on the bedsheet. I noticed her vagina didn’t drip out any of my semen. The condom was still cover my whole penis and didn’t slide-back all the way back. I slowly removed the condom and quickly go and pee out. After that I took a shower and washed thoroughly. I drink a lot of water to go peeing constantly. I checked the broken condom and realized there was a tiny hole at the left side was broken. After 6 months of exposure, I only got once flu and cough with slight fever after 3 months of exposure, flu lasted about 1 week and cough about 2week. Fever 1 day. All without any medication, just it it healed naturally like I what I did before I got exposure. Other than that, I don’t encounter any sign of rash, loss appetite or joint pain. I still have appetite to eat, exercise and work. This 6 months I do not have any sexual intercourse, just masturbation. Now I am a bit worried if I am high chance to get hiv.

    • The only way to know if you are infected with HIV or not is to get tested. That is something you must do. At the same time, get your doctor to screen you for all other STDs.

  29. Dear Dr. I had unprotected receptive anal sex 7.3 weeks ago. Two weeks later I had all ars symptoms like rash, fever, sore throat, headache, lower back pain, and many others. Some last until now. I tested on day 19 and 36 with rapid blood test and results were negative. My partner tested one day after with rapid blood test and result was negative. But I don’t know about his sex history as well as his window period… I feel very guilty and anxious… I plan to test again at 8 weeks with 4th generation and PCR test hopefully will be negative. How would you think that my negative result at five weeks be changed at 8 weeks or not? That guy also class that he tested every six months and four months before sexy with me… Please advice

  30. Hi Dr,

    I had unprotected sex around two months ago. I got testd 4th gen test after 4 week which is negative. Not sure its duo or antibody test. Method used fingertip blood. I dont have much sympotoms after 2 months but sometimes i saw few rashes or patches on my shoulders but it go away in ine day. Am i still on risk after the 4th week test result ??

    • If it was a combo test, you do not have HIV. You may want to see a doctor to get the rashes assessed although I do not think these rashes have anything to do with HIV.

      • Thank you Doc,

        Today i confirmed with clinic, it was 4th gen antibody test only because i crossed one month timeframe. So its not conclusive right ?
        Can i get tested at 2 months and will that be conclusive or i should wait one more month. Pls advise. Thank u so much.

  31. Hello doc. My dad is HIV+ since 2003. He has been living a healthy life. But lately he has lost a lot of weight and his cheeks have gone considerably inside. He is on ART and was taking 2 tablets known as Emtri. Now the doctor is telling him to take Tavin-LN. Can you explain why such change? the doctors here in India don’t entertain patients as there is a lot of stigma associated . I tried to ask the doctor many times but in vain.

    Waiting in anticipation for your reply.


    • Hi Abbey. I do not have enough information to explain the change. I can only assume it is due to what we call virologic failure. That means for some reason the old medicines are not working anymore and the viral load in his body is rising. I am also assuming that this is causing his weight loss and cachexia. These are all huge assumptions. It can also be because his old medicines are causing fat re-distribution in his body making his cheeks look hollow. I honestly do not know. Or maybe he has some other disease like TB or Cancer that is causing the change. As you can see, I am just making wild guesses. The best person to explain all this to you is his doctor. I do not know how you are going to do it but you really need to drag some information out of him.

  32. Doctor? is it normal to feel a small gland at the back of your left ear?

    • Yes there are lymph nodes behind the ear and for some people, they are palpable.

  33. Hi doctor,
    I have had HIV testing before and it was negative. But after getting drunk had a minor incident. This happened 2 weeks ago. I visiited a masseuse no oralsex, no penetrative sex and no kissing happend. I just sucked on her nipples and rubbed her clit but I had a cut from a hobby knife which was more than 6 days old. And she gave me a handjob. Did I put myself in any risk for std’s ? Thank you for your time.

    • Dr Justin Sim

      Do not panic, you can’t get HIV or STDs this way.

  34. Worried

    I have acne or pimples may appear around hair follicles on the upper arms and chest. Also, red spots and red patches on elbows, hand, feet, back, body. I feel fatigue and I have flus (on and off) for the past month.

    I have unprotected sex with some one few months ago.

    I have visited my family doctor. They told me to drink more water and rest more. Can be infected with HIV?

    • You definitely had put yourself at risk of HIV. Your symptoms may or may not be related to HIV. The best way to find out is to get yourself tested. You are welcomed to visit us at any of our clinics to get tested.