Medically reviewed by: Dr. Kimberly Langdon (M.D) on 3 January 2021.
Night sweats are caused by multiple health conditions and diseases.
Night sweats can even be caused by stress or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)¹, specifically HIV.
In some individuals, HIV exhibits flu-like symptoms along with night sweats within the first month of exposure.
In this article, we will throw light on the night sweats caused by HIV, its treatment, other treatment options, cost, and more.
What Causes HIV Night Sweats?
Sweating is a natural way for the body to respond to certain stimuli, like emotional and physical stresses, infections, heat exposure, etc.
An important part of the human body to fight against infections is a good night's sleep.
Your body is in auto-repairing mode while you are sleeping.
That's why a good night's sleep heals us faster.
This is the reason why night sweats are present when you have HIV, i.e, your body is trying to fight the infection during sleep.
Sweating can cause your pajamas, mattresses, bedsheets, etc, to get soaked in it.
Night sweats alone don't fall under the symptoms of HIV, in fact, in rare cases, night sweats could point towards HIV.
However, if you exhibit certain symptoms along with night sweats then you may be having HIV, including diarrhea, pain in the joints, chills, swelling in the lymph nodes, sudden loss of weight, and fever.
However, these symptoms may overlap with the conditions of other diseases, too.
Thus, if you have night sweats or any other associated symptoms, it is best to call your doctor immediately to clarify your condition.
To know answers faster, you can consider getting an at-home testing kit.
When might it occur?
Night sweats due to HIV can occur at different periods; these often occur when you are in the acute phase (early phase) of HIV.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the early phase of HIV takes place in a period of 14 to 28 days after exposure.
The symptoms in this phase match with the flu, including night sweats.
Some men develop rashes on their penis due to sweat, too.
Night sweats can occur if you don't treat HIV on time and have advanced to AIDS and can be extreme.
At this stage you might go through:
- ● Extreme fatigue
- ● Sudden loss of weight
- ● Fever
- ● Sores on your mouth or genitals
- ● Loss of memory,
- ● Skin rashes,
- ● Swelling in the lymph nodes, fever,
- ● Anxiety,
- ● Depression, too.
Night sweats never take place on their own. You will exhibit some other given signs and symptoms side by side with night sweats if you have HIV.
Also, it is important to know that HIV transmission through sweat is not possible.
If you only suffer from night sweats then it may have a different cause, too.
Also, sweats can contribute to a smelly vagina and bumps on the private parts too.
Night sweats that take place during the early stages of HIV should not recur after you have been diagnosed with the infection and getting treated.
This is termed as chronic phase or latent phase.
If you are an individual in this stage who follows the course of the doctor, then you might have no symptoms.
Wondering when to ask for help?
Night sweats can be caused by various reasons which may include, new medications, hormonal imbalance, stomach acid reflux, anxiety, etc.
Moreover, night sweats can also be due to some severe complications, like cancer and other serious neurological problems.
You should try to get it treated sooner than later if you are having:
- ● Trouble while sleeping
- ● Sudden loss of weight and body pain, Fever
- ● Chills
- ● Bloody cough
- ● Pain in the abdomen
- ● Diarrhea
- ● Persistent coughing
Other Treatment Options
If you exhibit real-time symptoms of HIV, then getting tested is the best option to consider.
During this time, it is best to refrain from any sexual activity to help prevent the spread of the disease.
HIV testing is essential for lessening the transmission of the infection.
Many individuals suffering from HIV are often asymptomatic, thus are less likely to take any precautions against this infection.
Also, when HIV is diagnosed in its early stages, it can be well-managed with drugs.
However, if not treated on time, HIV can progress into AIDS — a life-threatening disease.
According to the recommendation of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who are aged between 13 to 64 years should get tested at least once for HIV during their regular health care visits.
This can be done at community centers and clinics that deal with HIV.
However, the number of times a testing procedure is required by an individual depends upon the number of risk factors you may be suffering from.
For example, HIV testing is especially important if you are pregnant.
This is because you can spread this deadly infection to your baby through the placental connection, during delivery or breastfeeding.
Therefore, to combat this disease, testing is essential to mitigate the risk of the transmission of HIV to your child-to-be.
Getting tested for HIV is usually a part of your antenatal visits.
This holds for all pregnant and sexually active women, too.
Therefore, for an HIV-free family, you can play a major role in helping prevent the spread of this disease!
Who Should Be Tested For HIV?
You should consider getting an HIV test, especially if you are sexually active — even if you practice safe sex.
This holds especially if you:
- ● Are starting a new sexual relationship with another spouse
- ● Use drugs intravenously (IV)
- ● Are pregnant
- ● Trying to get pregnant
If that feels like you, getting tested after every 6 to 12 months can help you get early treatment.
Even if you come back negative, you are still learning about the precautionary measures against this infection.
Thus, if you suspect any symptoms, go to your doctor as early as 72 hours after you contract the infection.
Take the responsibility. Get tested.
Multiple STIs test panel: Wondering if multiple STD tests do check for HIV?
You can now consider getting tested for multiple STDs, including HIV at the same time.
An average testing panel helps to detect more than 10 STDs simultaneously. These include herpes, HIV, gonorrhea, and syphilis, etc.
Start experimenting by Googling, “multiple STD testing labs near me”.
You can now browse your type of testing procedure, i.e, whether you want to go to the lab or order an at-home testing kit.
Testing usually requires a blood or urine sample.
Sometimes a cheek or genital swab may also be asked for.
You can expect the results to come up within 7-14 days.
Modern medications for HIV can help you live a normal life expectancy, with a healthy mind and body!
An HIV test, when correctly done, can help in eliminating any false negatives. This holds when the test or the samples are stored properly.
However, your case type will determine your type of test — as some tests may be more trustworthy than others.
To simplify, among all HIV testing procedures, the point-of-care testing method is the most accurate of all.
In the same way, urine tests have less accuracy than blood tests.
After you get tested, you might worry about your results. To clarify your doubts, your doctor is the best person to ask for help.
Your doctor will use a proper algorithm or process until your test results confirm whether you are negative or positive.
First things first, you are a confirmed case of HIV only when your initial, as well as your series of follow-up tests, come back positive.
This time it is 100% certain that you are carrying the infection.
Unfortunately, HIV/AIDS is incurable currently. However, due to proper medical supervision and treatment, you can have an improved life quality like non-HIV people have.
If you or your beloved has HIV, you can still have a great life and prevent the transmission of this infection by receiving the latest medications.
Also, it is important to inform your spouse about your results.
By being honest, you'll benefit yourself and also your loved ones from the wrath of this disease.
In the meantime, it is recommended to visit a psychologist if you feel that the positive result is stressing you out.
He/she will help you to emotionally cope up with this disease.
A negative result could point towards two things:
- ● Congratulations! You're HIV-free!
- ● Or it is too early to detect the virus (if you've contracted the virus recently)
- This could mean: HIV isn't active in your body or your body hasn't had time to make antibodies to fight against HIV.
Therefore, you need to get tested again within three months to fully confirm whether you have HIV or not. Meanwhile, refraining from any sexual activity, including oral sex is always recommended!
The cost of treating a typical HIV infection varies from individual to individual. This usually depends upon your economic conditions, and the number of tests to be done, etc.
The total cost for treating HIV² can range between $1800-5000 each month during your whole life.
More than 50% of this amount goes to receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and visits to your physician.
Yes, the expense is higher than an average person could handle.
However, there are many Medicaid options available. Other options may be financial aid from non-profit organizations, mobile clinics, at-home testing kits, etc.
Wondering if you could afford it under $100? Perfect. You can. Just browse your area for, “government programs under $100 near me + your state name”. Yay!
During the early phase of HIV, night sweats during day or night may or may not confirm whether your HIV is severe or not.
If you test positive, it is best to begin treatment.
You can search for some Medicare programs that make it affordable for you to get treated for HIV.
HIV is treated by antiretroviral drugs. These drugs help in lessening the amount of the virus in your body (viral load).
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of the individuals can manage HIV within 6 months or even less.
However, at this point, you still need the ART therapy, but now your HIV will be chronic and will not suffer from any symptoms, including night sweats. Hooray!
By getting the appropriate treatment, HIV can remain in the everlasting phase which is asymptomatic. Thus, it is manageable.
A Word From Us
Night sweats can be uncomfortable.
You may have night sweats with no fever, too.
It may be caused by different infections, including HIV.
However, to confirm if you have HIV or not, you need to get tested at your local clinic or order an at-home testing kit.
HIV testing is crucial for pregnant women, too.
This is because the placental connection can spread the virus to your child. HIV transmission can also occur during delivery or breastfeeding.
Also, if you're sexually active while you are pregnant, then your husband may also be susceptible to catching HIV. Therefore, consider getting tested not only for yourself but also for your spouse for having an HIV-free family!
If you test positive for HIV and have night sweats in the meantime, this means you are in the acute phase of HIV.
Once you begin the treatment for HIV³, you will enter the chronic phase and at this stage you will be asymptomatic, thus, making your life easy to manage.
However, if you test HIV negative, night sweats could be a result of other conditions, like fever or autoimmune conditions.
In the meantime, it is recommended to have a healthy diet to help boost your immunity.