A person with the human immunodeficiency virus may present symptoms in the early stages of the disease but the only way to know for sure is through testing, states Singapore's Health Promotion Board. Most people with HIV look well, so it is important to test if the disease is suspected.
Most people do not have any symptoms of the virus until many years pass after contracting it, states Singapore's HPB. Some early symptoms that may occur a few weeks after infection are fever, fatigue, rash, headache, swollen lymph nodes and sore throat. If not tested and treated early, more serious symptoms present themselves after a few years when a person develops AIDS. Such symptoms include chronic diarrhea, weight loss, night sweats, lymphoma and tuberculosis.
HIV can be spread by having sex with or using drug injection equipment with someone who has HIV, says Singapore's HPB. The HIV antibody test detects if there are antibodies made by the body in response to the virus. However, antibodies can take up to three months to develop, so false negative tests can occur. After a person partakes in risky activity, he should wait three months for a negative test before any sexual activity.
One in seven people who have HIV do not know it, which is why regular testing is important in high-risk individuals, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.