Q and A

Question

What is seroconversion and what are the symptoms?

Answer

HIV seroconversion is the time in which a person develops antibodies for HIV but does not yet test positive on an HIV antibody test. The word just means that your ‘serostatus’ is converting from being HIV antibody negative to HIV antibody positive.

Seroconversion usually occur 1-3 weeks after infection. Sometimes symptoms can occur after a few days. In a few people there might be a delay of several several months.

Symptoms

The symptoms of HIV seroconversion resemble those of a common cold or flu. These early symptoms can also be similar to symptoms of other sexually transmitted diseases. Stress and anxiety can also produce symptoms in a few people even though they are not infected with HIV.

The most common symptoms include:

  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • fever (high temperature)
  • sore throat
  • rash
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • aching muscles and joints
  • swollen lymph glands

Seroconversion involves several symptoms that all start at the same time. Only having one or two of these symptoms is unlikely to be HIV.

These symptoms are not a reliable way of diagnosing HIV infection.

Firstly, 20% of people who become infected with HIV have no symptoms. Secondly, none of the symptoms listed above, on their own, are an indication of HIV.

However, if you get several of these symptoms at the same time AND you have had a recent risk of exposure to HIV, then this MAY be considered an indication that you have been infected.

The only way to know if you are HIV-positive is through an HIV test. More information on tests is at this link.

If you have recently been exposed to HIV, or think you may have been exposed to HIV, then contact a doctor or sexual health clinic to talk about whether testing for HIV is appropriate.


Information on this website is provided by treatment advocates and offered as a guide only. Decisions about your treatment should always be taken in consultation with your doctor.

20 comments

  1. Pingback: Think you may be positive? | HIV i-base

  2. I’m sorry but i-Base no longer answers individual questions about risks of HIV transmission or HIV testing.

    This service is based on information relating to treatment of people who are HIV positive.

    Information online
    Most testing questions are already answered on the FAQ page:
    http://i-base.info/qa/faq/hiv-transmission-and-testing

    Our guide to HIV Testing and risks of sexual transmission guide has more detailed and easy to read information about these topics. It can be read online at this link:
    http://i-base.info/guides/testing

    Worried about HIV?
    If you are worried about a possible infection contact your local testing centre.
    In the UK you can find your nearest clinic using the NHS website:
    http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/ServiceSearchAdditional.aspx?ServiceType=SexualHealthService

    Understanding HIV test results:
    If you do not understand results from an HIV test, please contact the centre where you were tested.

    Worried about symptoms?
    If you are concerned about any symptoms please contact a doctor.

  3. is it all the early symtom of an seroconversion that occur at onces in the body system of an hiv victim.please help me with your answers.i will be glad to hear frm you doctor.

  4. I’m sorry but i-Base no longer answers individual questions about risks of HIV transmission or HIV testing.

    This service is based on information relating to treatment of people who are HIV positive.

    Information online
    Most testing questions are already answered on the FAQ page:
    http://i-base.info/qa/faq/hiv-transmission-and-testing

    Our guide to HIV Testing and risks of sexual transmission guide has more detailed and easy to read information about these topics. It can be read online at this link:
    http://i-base.info/guides/testing

    Worried about HIV?
    If you are worried about a possible infection contact your local testing centre.
    In the UK you can find your nearest clinic using the NHS website:
    http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/ServiceSearchAdditional.aspx?ServiceType=SexualHealthService

    Understanding HIV test results:
    If you do not understand results from an HIV test, please contact the centre where you were tested.

    Worried about symptoms?
    If you are concerned about any symptoms please contact a doctor.

  5. i am a sailor i was having a fever when i went home and i went to a chemist who told me that is malaria.i took the precribe drugs before returning back to ship, the following day we started working on engine with big components that has to do with lifting of loads with our hands.after the work has finished.the next day a girl came to our ship i had sex with her and the condom turn.the following day i started having pains on my neck,shoulder,headache,colourless urine,even tiredness and shock on my teeth.please help me,am confuse i don”t known want to do,and is getting to four days now since i have be noticing this and my off day has not yet reach.

  6. I’m sorry but i-Base no longer answers individual questions about risks of HIV transmission or HIV testing.

    This service is based on information relating to treatment of people who are HIV positive.

    Information online
    Most testing questions are already answered on the FAQ page:
    http://i-base.info/qa/faq/hiv-transmission-and-testing

    Our guide to HIV Testing and risks of sexual transmission guide has more detailed and easy to read information about these topics. It can be read online at this link:
    http://i-base.info/guides/testing

    Worried about HIV?
    If you are worried about a possible infection contact your local testing centre.
    In the UK you can find your nearest clinic using the NHS website:
    http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/ServiceSearchAdditional.aspx?ServiceType=SexualHealthService

    Understanding HIV test results:
    If you do not understand results from an HIV test, please contact the centre where you were tested.

    Worried about symptoms?
    If you are concerned about any symptoms please contact a doctor.

  7. Hi, a condom recently broke while having sex with a sex worker who I then came in her mouth unprotected and then surprisingly kissed me when my eyes were closed. She said she has no HIV because she visits the gum clinic on a weekly basis she is a trained nurse herself and is very afraid of the diesease but I have recently experienced the following symptoms which have freaked me out to the bone.
    -I black raised spot on the top left side of my tongue that I noticed like today and tried my level best to brush my tongue that very night and was gone the following day.
    -I have found out that there is a 3cm long and about 1cm wide black patch on back of my arm. Can

  8. Hi Shimoli,

    Healing quickly after an injury is not a sign of increased HIV risk. Unprotected sex is a possible HIV risk, if the girl you had sex with is HIV+

    I’m sorry but i-Base no longer answers individual questions about risks of HIV transmission or HIV testing.

    This service is based on information relating to treatment of people who are HIV positive.

    Information online
    Most testing questions are already answered on the FAQ page:
    http://i-base.info/qa/faq/hiv-transmission-and-testing

    Our guide to HIV Testing and risks of sexual transmission guide has more detailed and easy to read information about these topics. It can be read online at this link:
    http://i-base.info/guides/testing

    Worried about HIV?
    If you are worried about a possible infection contact your local testing centre.
    In the UK you can find your nearest clinic using the NHS website:
    http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/ServiceSearchAdditional.aspx?ServiceType=SexualHealthService

    Understanding HIV test results:
    If you do not understand results from an HIV test, please contact the centre where you were tested.

    Worried about symptoms?
    If you are concerned about any symptoms please contact a doctor.

  9. i had unprotected sex with a girl 5 weeks has passed, this week i come so serious sick but you must have to know i have not done tough work like carrying 150 brick stones measuring each Width 9”, heiht 9” and lenths 12 inches (14Kgs) on my back for 4 months i was taking them of first floor using stair case, when i came back home i started to feel headache and bodyache but i swallowed simple medicine my body come normal.
    Next day i walked like 2 hrs morning and evening to and fro for three days to search for a casual work at the constructional site as a handyman their and the payment is very poor. I found the work and the work started at 7:30 am to 5:00 pm i was given spade to be scooping hard concrete and puting it on the wheelbarrow so as to mix the slab i did that work and i had not take any breakfast i was feeling to fell down sometimes dizzy i did the work till lunch for 30 min then we get back to work, one of workmate cut my finger with spade but it get healed faster 2 days.
    My head was continues to be bad till i got sick for 3 days then back to normal without going to hospital but i had appetite to eat i was drinking lots of water, i had no other other signs of hiv beside of headache and becoming sick. I have not lost weight, but the work i did and walking is the one caused me to sick.
    If was cutted with dirty spade and get healed 2-3 days does this showing i am at hiv+ risk?
    I look for your responses.
    Thanks

  10. hi grace i had exactly same symptoms and still on going now which ive had 4 19 months ive tested 6 times for hiv all negative no gps can give me a diagnosis.

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