It’s good to be alert to the symptoms of an early HIV infection. This means you can make sure you get tested in time. If you do have HIV, you can start treatment immediately. This keeps you in good health and soon you won't be able to pass the virus on to others.
However, symptoms like fever, sore throat and swollen lymph glands might just as well indicate something else. Boris got the shock of his life when his doctor told him he might have an early HIV infection.
Boris had good reason to go to his doctor. ‘I felt really awful, I had a sore throat and there were lots of ulcers in my mouth. Well, I'd never had this before. After a few days of staying home and feeling ill, I decided to go to the doctor.’
‘He looked inside my throat and checked some things online. Then told me, rather tactlessly, that mouth ulcers sometimes indicate an HIV infection. My doctor is gay, has many homosexual patients and knows that I have sex with men. That's probably why he jumped to the conclusion I had HIV. But I was totally unprepared for it.’
‘I went into panic mode. All my recent dates flitted through my head. As far as I knew, I hadn't had unprotected sex. Could I have missed something? I was in tears when I called my boyfriend. He got the fright of his life as well. Because your doctor must have a reason for saying this...’
‘As it turned out, I was panicking for nothing. The HIV test result was negative. And the ulcers in my mouth? After a number of tests, they turned out to be part of a severe throat infection.’
* Boris wished to remain anonymous, so we used a stock photo for his story.
Text: Arjan van Bijnen