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Can You Get HIV Symptoms in the Two to Three Days After Exposure?

August 23, 2016

It takes longer than this for any symptoms of primary HIV infection to show up. Not everyone who acquires HIV has any symptoms or notices them, but when they do, it's usually at least one week after exposure and can be several weeks afterwards.

This is known as acute retroviral all syndrome (ARS). This is transitory; after a brief period with symptoms, most people who contract HIV suffer no health problems for several years. Moreover people who have their HIV diagnosed promptly and who receive HIV treatment may never have any symptoms due to HIV. HIV treatment can keep individuals in excellent health for decades.

So if you are experiencing some symptoms two or three days after you took a sexual risk, there is almost certainly another explanation for your health issues than HIV. You may want to see your doctor and have the symptoms investigated.

Acute retroviral syndrome can include sore throat, muscle and joint aches and pains, rashes, chills, night sweats, headaches, feeling generally unwell, mouth ulcers, weight loss, tiredness and swollen glands. However the same symptoms could be caused by many other infections, including influenza, mononucleosis, strep throat, rubella, herpes viruses, shingles and toxoplasmosis.


More on HIV Symptoms at

To find out more about the symptoms of HIV infection, we recommend the following articles:

In addition, our Q&A experts sometimes address questions about symptoms in our "Ask the Experts" forums. Here are some of those questions and our experts' responses:

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