At Freedomhealth we see very many hundreds of people each year with worries about possible HIV exposure and then possible early HIV symptoms. The web is a fabulous resource but can terrify the life out of people who are perhaps feeling just a little guilty because they have had a sexual encounter they would not usually have, or have had sex with another outside their usual relationship.
In the UK the prevalence of HIV is actually very low indeed with around 60,000 out of 60 million people being infected. That gives a chance of meeting someone with HIV as 1:1000. The risks of infection are very real and the illness is severe and very significant from all sorts of point of view, but looking at it in the cold light of day, the risk of HIV transmission amounts to a chance of less than 1% on any single occasion.
The symptoms of early HIV infection do not always appear. They probably appear to some degree in around 60 - 70 % of people, but very many people remain completely well. If they do appear then it is likely they will develop somewhere between 2 and 12 weeks after infection. Symptoms before this time are very rare indeed. The only sure way to diagnose HIV is with an HIV test.
That said, when symptoms do occur, they are made up of some or all of the following:-
You can see that the symptoms of HIV infection are very similar to the symptoms of any disease caused by infection such as tonsillitis, chest infection, influenza etc. All of these are much more common and it is much more likley that if you do have these that they are not early symptoms of HIV but symptoms due to something else. Anxiety itself is a powerful condition and can persuade people that they have symptoms which in fact they don't.
The important thing is to avoid putting yourself in aposition where you might have to worry about the early symptoms of HIV. In general this means using a condom for penetration - anal or vaginal. If you use a condom and it stays on and does not rip then the chances of HIV infection are almost zero.