Know the importance of HIV testing

We all understand the importance of getting tested for things such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. HIV testing is similar. It is important to find out if you have HIV early, before you feel sick. And testing isn’t just for some people—health agencies now recommend that most of us get tested for HIV at least once.

The most common symptoms of HIV infection 2-4 weeks after initial infection include:

  • Fever
  • Enlarged or swollen lymph nodes
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Muscle pain
  • Mouth and esophageal sores
  • Feeling unwell in general

Also, but less commonly:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Enlarged liver/spleen
  • Weight loss
  • Thrush (yeast infection in the mouth)
  • Neurological symptoms

Because many symptoms are nonspecific, early detection makes a huge difference in long-term health outcomes. Living a long, healthy life with HIV is possible with recent advances in treatment.

But HIV diagnosis can be difficult

Unfortunately, because HIV symptoms often don’t show up for many years, many people live with HIV without knowing it. That may be because many symptoms of HIV infection are also symptoms of other common illnesses. Plus, infected individuals may experience all, some or none of these symptoms.

Ask your doctor about HIV screening from Quest Diagnostics—the test that’s for everyone.

HIV testing: the only sure way to know

This is why early HIV testing is so critical to HIV diagnosis and management. Only an HIV screening test can confirm whether a person is infected. Fortunately, recent advances in testing for HIV—called “4th generation” screening—can detect HIV up to 20 days earlier than previously possible with 3rd-generation testing. No matter which test you get, however, the important thing is to just get tested. Screening for HIV is a convenient blood test.