Ask the doctor: How long does HIV take to show in my body?

Ask the doctor: How long does HIV take to show in my body?

Ask the doctor: How long does HIV take to show in my body?

Doctor;How long does it take for HIV to show in my body?

In this life we live, some people may not be able to protect themselves 100% from risks of catching HIV, the virus that causes the AIDS condition here in Africa. While its true that many people make effort to protect themselves from catching HIV, some others just maybe careless in their sexual life owing to poor life styles. Effects of drunkenness, drug abuse bad peer pressure could at least expose them directly to unsafe sex with HIV.

Unsafe sex here refers to having sex, live without a condom, with someone whose HIV status you have not established in any way.Unsafe can occur due to life style problems listed above, or in an unfortunate instance a case of rape. In so many other times it happens when the people involved in the sexual act have adamantly refused to follow their own proper reasoning prior to the act of sex, owing to the heat of the moment. Many times i have heard men say that condoms waste time which is always sad for me to hear.

So,this is the turn of events: someone has unsafe sex, but then also forgets to take PEP(Post Exposure Prophylaxis). You don’t know PEP? Well its the medication we give you within 72 hours after you have acknowledged that you had unsafe sex whether by choice or rape. PEP helps to protect your body from catching HIV even if you slept with a person infected with HIV.The medication is taken everyday for 30 days for you to have full protection. But some people don’t even know PEP exists! they have unsafe sex, and then just look on in worry as the days go by,wondering whether they got infected or not.

So,how long does HIV take to show up in your body? This question refers to what we call the window period;the period between exposure to HIV infection and the point when the test will give an accurate result. In this period, you could be infected with HIV, be very infectious(you can spread it) but still test HIV negative! This period to the confirmatory test lasts 12 weeks and at that point we can detect more than 99.9% of the infection. But a fourth generation antigen/antibody test can still detect about 95% of infections even by the fourth week.

Please remember that while you can still test negative for HIV during the window period, you are still infectious and are able to spread HIV to another person should you choose to have unsafe sex with them. It’s therefore recommended that you en devour to practice safe sex during this period, just to save others and help in efforts to stop this endemic virus. You can choose to abstain or use condoms correctly during this window period. You may develop a few symptoms during this window period when your viral load increases and sero-conversion starts to occur in your body. Such symptoms can include flu-like symptoms like fever, mild headache, weakness, chills, sore throat, some swollen lymph nodes, reduced appetite, etc. Medically this phase is referred to as acute HIV infection.

You can also read:Does circumcision help in preventing HIV?

To conclude, always remember to seek immediate help from a health worker the moment you have unsafe sex. You can also always learn more about HIV/AIDS from this site or consult our online African doctors for HIV on For expert opinion and advice about HIV/AIDS. Our doctors always available to help you live healthier.

About the author

Samuel Kagamba is a medical doctor,computer programmer and entrepreneur; very passionate about developing technologies to improve healthcare delivery in Africa.Off duty, he loves soccer and making new friends.Follow him on twitter
@samuelkagamba or email him at facebook account: Samuel Kagamba.

Samuel Kagamba – who has written posts on Aferdoc Blog.

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