Signs of HIV that affect males include penile ulcers, erectile dysfunction, proctitis, hypogonadism, and prostatitis. Other symptoms can also include a fever, sore throat, rashes, and more.

HIV is a virus that affects white blood cells known as CD4 cells, which play a major role in the body’s immunity. Since HIV attacks the body’s immunity, people with the condition are more likely to develop infections and other conditions.

As numerous conditions can cause the same signs and symptoms of HIV, it is important to determine the cause. A doctor can perform tests to diagnose HIV and rule out other possible conditions.

Read on to learn more about the signs and symptoms of HIV in males. This article also looks at other common symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and more.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

Was this helpful?
A doctor is talking to a couple.Share on Pinterest
SDI Productions/Getty Images

Most signs and symptoms of HIV are the same for anyone. However, some are unique to males.

Penile ulcers

A 2017 case report details a person with HIV developing penile ulcers. This can cause painful sores or lesions on the penis and enlarge the lymph node in the groin area.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) may help heal penile ulcers.

Learn more about ART.

Infectious proctitis

According to a 2018 study, infectious proctitis — inflammation of the rectum — occurs frequently in males with HIV who have sex with other males.

Symptoms of infectious proctitis include:

Treatment for infectious proctitis typically involves antimicrobial therapy.

Learn more about proctitis.

Erectile dysfunction

Research from 2021 indicates that erectile dysfunction has a prevalence rate of anywhere from 13–86% among males with HIV.

Symptoms can include a lack of erection or a partial erection. Erectile dysfunction can also affect a person’s sex life and cause a loss of interest in sex.

A doctor may recommend medication for a person with erectile dysfunction. Talk therapy may also be beneficial.

Learn more about erectile dysfunction.


Hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels, may occur in males with either treated or untreated HIV.

Common symptoms of hypogonadism include:

  • reduced libido
  • erectile dysfunction
  • fatigue
  • low mood

Testosterone replacement therapy can help treat hypogonadism.

Learn more about hypogonadism.


HIV is a risk factor for acute prostatitis. The condition refers to swelling or inflammation of the prostate gland.

Symptoms of prostatitis include:

Doctors typically prescribe antibiotics for prostatitis. In severe cases, a person may need to stay in the hospital.

Learn more about prostatitis.

Doctors diagnose HIV with various blood tests. These can include:

  • Antibody test: Most HIV rapid test kits are antibody tests.Antibody tests can take 23–90 days to detect HIV after exposure.
  • Antigen-antibody test: This looks for HIV antigens and antibodies in the blood. An antigen-antibody test can usually detect HIV 18–45 days after exposure.
  • Nucleic acid test (NAT): The doctor will recommend a NAT for people who have had recent exposure. A NAT can usually detect HIV 10–33 days after exposure.

Learn more about HIV tests.

The main treatment for HIV is antiretroviral therapy (ART).

ART involves taking a combination of HIV medications known as HIV treatment regimen. While ART cannot cure HIV, it can help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives.

Learn more about HIV treatments.

A person may be able to reduce their risk of HIV by:

Here are some common questions about HIV.

Are there early warning signs of HIV?

A person may initially experience flu-like symptoms. These can include fatigue, chills, night sweats, and a sore throat.

How long does it take for HIV to show up in males?

The first symptoms of HIV usually appear 2–4 weeks after exposure to the virus. However, some people may not experience any symptoms.

It is best for a person to contact a doctor for advice if they believe they may have been exposed to HIV, even if they do not have any symptoms.

What are the 5 main symptoms of HIV?

The symptoms of HIV can be nonspecific. Not everybody with HIV will have the same symptoms. However, the main symptoms that do occur in the early stage can resemble the flu.

Signs of HIV in males can include proctitis, penile ulcers, prostatitis, hypogonadism, and erectile dysfunction.

Other symptoms of HIV can include a fever, muscle aches, sore throat, chills, and a rash. In some cases, a person may not experience any symptoms.

A doctor will typically use blood tests to test for and diagnose HIV. The main treatment for HIV is ART therapy. Doctors may also recommend treatments for specific symptoms.