Various factors may affect the urine color of someone with HIV. These include dehydration, certain medications, and infection.

HIV is a virus that damages the cells in a person’s immune system. It affects their body’s ability to fight infections and other conditions.

People with HIV may experience certain symptoms that can change the color of their urine. Some HIV medications have side effects that can also affect the color of a person’s urine.

This article discusses what causes a change in urine color for people with HIV and what different urine colors mean.

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There can be several reasons for urine color changes in people with HIV:

  • Medication: Some HIV medications have side effects that include hepatotoxicity. This is the medical term for liver damage due to medications or other substances. One symptom of hepatotoxicity is dark-colored urine.
  • Dehydration: HIV and some HIV medications can cause diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration may cause dark yellow urine. Not consuming enough fluids can also cause dehydration.
  • Infections: People with HIV may experience recurring infections. Some infections may cause a person’s urine color to change.

The color of a person’s urine can indicate various changes and issues.

Pale yellow or clear

A person’s urine color can normally vary from pale yellow to clear. Clear urine may also be a symptom of diabetes insipidus.

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a rare condition where a person’s body makes too much urine. People with DI can pass a lot of clear urine. In some people, HIV can lead to DI.

Dark yellow

If a person has dark yellow urine, it may contain less water and more waste products than normal. This can be a symptom of dehydration. Dehydration can be a side effect of diarrhea, which is when people have loose and watery stools. People with advanced HIV may experience chronic diarrhea.


Several medications can cause a person’s urine to appear orange, such as rifampin. Rifampin is a medication healthcare professionals use to treat some infections.

Another medication that can cause the urine to turn orange is phenazopyridine. This is a medication that helps treat symptoms due to urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Pink or red

Pink or red urine can be a sign of blood in a person’s urine, called hematuria. Blood in urine can have several causes, including:

  • infection or inflammation in a person’s
    • bladder
    • kidney
    • urethra
    • prostate
  • trauma
  • vigorous exercise
  • sexual activity
  • benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also called an enlarged prostate
  • bladder stones
  • a recent urinary tract procedure
  • some more serious causes including
    • some cancers
    • kidney disease involving a person’s glomeruli, the very small blood vessels in the kidneys

Blood in a person’s urine may not have a serious cause. However, a person with red urine should still seek medical advice.

Other causes for pink or red urine can include:

  • eating beetroot, which can cause pink urine
  • some medications
  • menstruation

People may also have very dark red urine. They may mistake it for being brown. In this case, the causes are the same as for red urine.

Blue or green

Some foods and a substance, called methylene blue, can turn a person’s urine blue. Healthcare professionals use this in several diagnostic tests. Some medications and home remedies also contain methylene blue.

Several common medications or foods can cause people to have green urine, such as asparagus. Green urine can also be a sign of a UTI.

People with HIV may be more likely to develop UTIs.

Brown or dark brown

Causes of brown or dark brown urine include excessive bilirubin in a person’s blood. Bilirubin is a substance the body makes as it breaks down old, red blood cells. If excess bilirubin goes into the urine, it may appear brownish.

Conditions that can cause excess bilirubin include:

People may also have brown urine due to eating foods, such as fava beans and rhubarb, and some medications.

People with HIV may have a higher risk of liver conditions, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.

A person should contact a healthcare professional right away if they believe they may have HIV. An earlier HIV diagnosis allows people to start treatments sooner and avoid serious illness.

People with HIV should begin taking HIV medications as soon as possible after an HIV diagnosis. HIV medications help people with HIV live longer and healthier lives. They also help reduce the risk of passing HIV to others. Without treatment, people with HIV may also develop severe illnesses.

If a person with HIV notices any significant changes to their urine, they should consult a healthcare professional.

The following are answers to some questions people frequently ask about HIV.

What is the first symptom of HIV?

Many people with HIV experience no symptoms. People with HIV may have a short illness that feels similar to flu 2–6 weeks after contracting HIV.

How do you know if someone is HIV positive?

The only way to know if a person has HIV is with an HIV test.

What does HIV pain feel like?

HIV pain can affect various parts of a person’s body in different ways. People with HIV may have a burning sensation, numbness, or tingling in their hands due to nerve damage. They may also have mild or severe headaches, joint pain, or abdominal pain.

HIV and AIDS resources

For more in-depth information and resources on HIV and AIDS, visit our dedicated hub.

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The urine color of people with HIV may change for several reasons, such as dehydration, infections, or HIV medications. Certain medical conditions can also affect the color of a person’s urine.

Eating some foods or menstruation can also change urine color.

A person with HIV, who notices changes to their urine, should consult a healthcare professional.