HIV Symptoms in Men

Medically Reviewed by Jonathan E. Kaplan, MD on March 06, 2024
2 min read

HIV can look different in each person. Not everyone will have the same set of symptoms, and some may not have any signs for a long time.

Most of the time, the signs of HIV are the same for men and women. But there are a few symptoms that are unique to men.

It's important to note that these male-specific symptoms can also be signs of other conditions. If you have any of these, make sure to speak with your doctor.

Low sex drive. This is a sign of hypogonadism, which means your testicles don’t make enough of the sex hormone testosterone. This condition is tied to HIV.
Hypogonadism can also cause:

Sores on the penis. A common sign of HIV is painful open sores, or ulcers on your mouth or esophagus. They can also appear on your anus or penis. These sores often keep coming back.

Pain or burning while peeing. In most cases, this is a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection like gonorrhea or chlamydia. It may signal swelling of the prostate, a small gland beneath the bladder. This condition is called prostatitis. It’s sometimes caused by a bacterial infection.

Other symptoms of prostatitis include:

  • Pain during ejaculation
  • Peeing more often than usual
  • Cloudy or bloody pee
  • Pain in the bladder, testicles, penis, or the area between the scrotum and rectum
  • Lower back, abdomen, or groin pain

After HIV wins against your immune system, it spreads at a slower rate. This stage is called chronic or clinical latency. In many cases, you won’t have any more symptoms.

Without treatment, this stage can last up to 10 to 15 years. But if you take ART regularly, you may stay in this stage for decades and have an up to normal life span.

AIDS is the last stage of HIV. This is when the virus has seriously damaged your immune system. Your body can’t fight off many infections, which can lead to symptoms.

Signs of AIDS include:

AIDS can be prevented by starting ART earlier. If you have already developed AIDS, it is important to take ART, but you should not wait this long. Your doctor will prescribe ART to keep your immune system as healthy as possible. You may also need medicine for any infections or issues caused by your weakened immune system.