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HIV Symptoms in Men
Reviewed by Ruthann Cunningham, MD, June 26, 2017
two-thirds of all new HIV cases occur in men. Within this group,
gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with
men (MSM) make up the largest group of men who are HIV positive. Black men
are disproportionately affected by the virus, followed by Latinos and then
In addition, men are typically "late presenters", meaning they don't go to the doctor and get
a diagnosis until the disease has advanced to later stages. This happens for
several reasons. Initial HIV symptoms in men
are often vague, or tolerable ("I think I may just have the flu"), and
if they're noticeable, it's still common for men to be in denial that
there is a serious issue at hand. This creates a host of issues
for the male patient, as their health is more adversely affected if they
don't receive prompt, timely treatment.
What are the symptoms of HIV?
Since the initial HIV symptoms men experience are subtle, they sometimes go unnoticed.
Patients can experience a "flu-like" illness, days to weeks after infection with the virus. HIV
symptoms in men include:
Fever and night sweats
Swollen lymph nodes
Muscle soreness and joint pain
How often should men get tested for HIV?
Not knowing you have HIV can be
dangerous because during the initial phase of vague symptoms, a person can transmit the virus
to their partner(s) without knowing it. HIV testing for men who are sexually active is recommended
at least once in his lifetime by the CDC and more often for men who are at high risk
(IV drug users, men who have
sex with men). Testing remains the only way to know whether you have HIV. If you are
concerned that you may have been exposed to HIV or have had unprotected sex,
Once the acute phase of HIV infection
is over, there may be a long, symptom-free period where an infected person
feels "normal" and remains unaware of his infection. However, the virus is
still at work and causing damage to the body's
immune system. Eventually, this will lead to AIDS.
For more information on AIDS
and AIDS symptoms, see our pages dedicated to that topic.