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Is smelly urine a symptom of HIV?

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Quick Answer

Smelly urine is not a symptom of the human immunodeficiency virus, since several common aspects affect the odor and appearance of urine. Dietary changes, other HIV-unrelated infections and genetics affect the smell of urine, MedicineNet.com reports.

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Eating certain foods, such as beets, changes the odor of urine, while asparagus causes enzymes to break down a sulfur compound found in the food, causing smelly urine, notes MedicineNet.com. Urinary stones cause an ammonia-like smell, while diabetics experience a sweet swell in their urine, which signals excess sugar, WebMD reports. Taking certain medications causes scent changes.

Dehydration increases the concentration of urine, leading to a stronger ammonia smell. Urinary tract infections cause urine to appear cloudy or bloody and lead to a foul smell, as does the presence of bacteria in urine, according to MedicineNet.com. Some rare genetic anomalies affect the smell of urine, giving it a strange odor.

Symptoms of HIV during its the initial phase include fever, muscle aches, rashes, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes and headache. As the disease progresses, patients lose weight and experience fatigue, diarrhea and oral yeast infections, according to Mayo Clinic. Taking a HIV test can determine infection, and the symptoms may be latent for many years, states Health.com.

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