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Can HIV cause headache and generalized itching without rash?

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Hi Doctor

My question today is simple. Can Generalized Pruritus without a rash be a symtom of HIV (not a primary symptom of early infection but something you develop 5 - 6 years after exposure)? I've been having generalized itching without a rash (light, usually towards nights) along with headaches (once a week). The itching responds to antihistimines. I had an anxiety attack 6 weeks ago and this may be linked to that (I'm seeing a doctor later this week, have had no symtoms since then). Thanks for a clear, comprehensive response, in advance!

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
 26 Doctors Online

Hello. Thanks for choosing

AIDS after 5-6 years will manifest with a lot of other issues, such as esophageal candidiasis, recurrent lung infections, chronic diarrhea ( e.t.c) , and no generalized pruritus without rash is not a symptom of AIDS, especially after 5-6 years of exposure when the disease mostly goes up to the advanced stage. If you have only this symptom, it mostly points towards allergic manifestation. Try to associate your allergies with the cause, it can be food, some new soap or mositurizer you are using, even heat at times. If you see any discolored patches anywhere in your body, then it can be fungal infection. Then watch out for that. I would advise you to use T. Claritin 10 mg once a day preferably in the night time, and that will reduce your pruritus.

I have seen lots of patients being very overtly worried about AIDS. If you feel you have a reason to believe that you might have AIDS ( for example unprotected sex in the past with someone with increased risk ) e.t.c, you can get yourself tested with an HIV combo test. Though from history i can assure you, you don't have AIDS, still it is better to have an conclusive evidence and get past this anxiety, which keeps troubling you.

Do get back to us if you have additional queries.


Patient replied :

Thanks for your prompt response. I should get tested, for sure, because it has been a while. I did read on the Internet that generally HIV is latent for an average of 10 years after primary symptoms. Would you still see the symptoms you listed after 5-6 years?

Thanks for writing to us again. What you see on internet is true, more theoretically, but practically the patient's condition starts getting worse within 2-3 years after acquiring the infection. Hence i said this anxiety will be there till you see the conclusive result. Kindly get it done soon, and get back to us with your reports.

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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