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Experiencing flu like symptoms?

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Overview of flu-like symptoms

At one point or another, most of us have experienced the fever body aches, chills, fatigue, and cough associated with flu-like symptoms. Sometimes these symptoms are signs of the flu or other run-of-the-mill infections, but they can also signal other viruses or illnesses, including a few sexually transmitted diseases.

Possible causes of flu-like symptoms

Many different conditions can cause flu-like symptoms. Certain STDs can cause these symptoms 

  • HIV: Early HIV symptoms can mimic the flu and appear one to six weeks after infection. However, most early HIV infections don’t show symptoms.
  • Hepatitis C: Hepatitis C may cause vague, flu-like symptoms.
  • Herpes: Severe herpes outbreaks can cause flu-like symptoms, along with genital blisters and rashes.

Many other common conditions can cause these symptoms such as the flu, common cold, mononucleosis, Lyme disease and others.

STD testing for flu-like symptoms

STD testing is recommended if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, and there is a chance you may have been exposed to an STD. Since flu-like symptoms are vague and can represent many different conditions, only an STD test can diagnose the cause.

If STD testing returns negative, a doctor can determine alternate causes of flu-like symptoms. Always consult a doctor if your symptoms are severe.

Treating flu-like symptoms

When flu-like symptoms are caused by an STD, treatment will vary based on the diagnosis. Most flu-like symptoms will resolve on their own, but the infection will require treatment. HIV treatment requires antiretroviral medication to prevent it from progressing into AIDS, while herpes is treated through medication that suppresses outbreaks. Medication is also used to manage chronic hepatitis C infections; acute hepatitis C infections usually resolve with treatment.

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