Q and A

Question

Will HIV tests be positive if viral load is undetectable?

If my viral load is undetectable and I do an HIV test, will it show a positive result?

Answer

Hi

Viral load tests look for how much virus can be found in a sample of blood.

HIV tests looks for whether your immune system has ever been in contact with HIV.

As immune responses stay with you for life, even when there is no detectable viral load, the HIV test should always be positive.

Even if an HIV cure is found, the HIV antibody test is likely to still be positive for most people.

However, sometimes people who start ART very soon after infection, might test negative with rapid HIV tests. This is a test problem, thoough – the person still has HIV. Please see this report for details.

http://i-base.info/htb/32657

60 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Brenda,

    The problems that you are having won’t be related to HIV. For when seroconversion starts, please see here:

    http://i-base.info/qa/284

  2. Brenda

    I may have been exposed in April 2016 to hiv. I am having some symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, headache, rashes but the hiv test came back negative on June 30 2017. I am still having those rash.
    I ask my doctor for a viral load.
    What do you think? My doctor prescribed prednisone thinking that the rash might be caused by insect bite

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Xolelwa,

    Is your partner cool with your status? If he is, this is great.

    Its common to be worried when it comes to having children, and having sex without using a condom. However, the risk of you transmitting HIV to your partner is close to zero. For more info please see here:

    http://i-base.info/qa-on-the-partner-study/

  4. xolelwa

    hi i was diagnosed with hiv in 2010 and in 2013 i started my arvs now i have this guy who i am dating he is hiv – my vl is undetectable and my cd4 is 754 .we are using protection,but now he wants a baby he recently found out about my status.i am scared of losing him ,i dont knw how to react with him. please advise me.

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Nomsa,

    Has it been discussed with you that its very likely that you’re an elite controller?

    http://i-base.info/elite-controller/

  6. nomsa

    Was diagnose in 2002 I’m not on any ARVs. In 2017 my viral load is still lower than detectable.

  7. Lisa Thorley
  8. Ranjit

    Husband and wife on ART. Both undetectable, can we have kids?

  9. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Sandi,

    You being stressed won’t have caused your result to be positive. Also are you saying that when you were diagnosed your viral load was undetectable?

  10. Sandi

    2017 january i tested positive my viral load was undetectable it was cd4 was 711,as i am pregnant my husband n i went to our private doctor which tested both of us n mine came back reactive while my husband is non reactive.im hurting,angry n confused as i just lost my job,a mother as well as being pregnant .do u think my results came back positive due to stress?