HIV's resemblance to the flu makes diagnosis difficult; patients should get routine screenings

Common symptoms of HIV in its early stages include fever, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, oral ulcers, and swollen lymph glands. With many of these symptoms also being indicative of the common flu, many doctors are unable to differentiate between a normal, relatively harmless flu, and HIV, a new study found. This inability to diagnose based solely on their own observations presents a problem, as blood tests can miss HIV for as many as three months after infection.

“We realized through our four-year STOP HIV/AIDS pilot program that many clinical opportunities to make a diagnosis and offer treatment were being missed,” said Dr. Perry Kendall, provincial health officer of British Columbia, in a press release. “Based on this experience, we developed and released guidelines for front-line practitioners, recommending routine HIV screening for adults. This combination of increased testing and access to free antiretroviral drugs is both evidence-based and effective.”

Anthony Rivas reports

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