know your symptoms, know what to test for
During this cold and flu season, if you're sexually active, you may be wondering if your symptoms are a sign of flu, COVID-19, or HIV. Their symptoms can be similar, so it's important to get tested and treated.
COVID-19 and new HIV infection may have similar symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, muscle aches, or fatigue. It's important to know the similarities and differences between their symptoms, but it's even more important to get tested.
Symptoms of COVID-19 usually occur within two weeks of exposure; sometimes as early as 3-5 days. Fever, chills, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath, muscle aches, congestion, and loss of taste and/or smell are some of the symptoms of COVID-19. However, some people may have COVID-19 and show no symptoms at all! Getting a flu shot and the new COVID-19 booster can prevent serious illness or even prevent infection altogether.
Early HIV symptoms can feel like a bad case of the flu or COVID-19, and usually occur a few weeks after HIV exposure. In many people, early HIV signs and symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph glands, rash, sore joints or muscles, or a sore throat. Symptoms usually disappear within one to four weeks; therefore, they are often mistaken for a case of the flu. If you believe you are at risk for getting HIV, learn about PrEP, a medication that can prevent HIV if you are HIV-negative.
If you might have been exposed to COVID-19 or HIV, talk to your doctor about getting tested. Testing is the only way to know whether you have COVID-19 or HIV. Learn more about COVID-19 and getting vaccinated at Trillium Health here. You can find information about free HIV and STI testing at Trillium Health here.