Q and A


How accurate are rapid tests for HIV diagnosis?

Hi, I have been having sex with my girlfriend for the past year and a half. The first few times we had unprotected sex. After that we started using condoms for birth control. We continued to have oral sex often.

Recently my girlfriend developed an ulcer in the clitoris. She then checked and tested positive for HIV-1, by a TriDot test and also by western blot. I myself have tested negative by TriDot as well as by DNA amplification tests. How can i really be sure that i am negative? Should i be taking any prophylaxis?


The Tri-Dot test is a rapid HIV antibody test that is very accurate and sensitive at detecting HIV infection. Getting a negative result means that you are HIV-negative.

If you have been potentially exposed to HIV over the 3 months before taking the test – I don’t think this is the case because you have been using condoms – then you could confirm this with another test in three months.

Your girlfriend will now need to have other blood tests including a CD4 test to check whether HIV has damaged her immune system and whether she needs to start treatment, and a viral load test if this is available in your country. She should also see a doctor about the ulcer.

You do not need to take any prophylaxis treatment for your own health, but you will need to make sure you continue to use a condom during sex.

The following link show results that show that the TriDot test has over 99.9% reliability.

Information on this website is provided by treatment advocates and offered as a guide only. Decisions about your treatment should always be taken in consultation with your doctor.


  1. lalit

    Hi i was in Germany in 2015. I had protected sex 3 times in 2 months gap in april, may and june. I tested HIV negative in september 2015. I again tested negative in august 2016. But i still has fear that i have symptoms. Whether i am safe please help.

  2. Steve

    I had unprotected sex on 21st June 2016. I had painless mouth sore in late july. I also had burning sensation which I learnt it was due to fear. I had rapid hiv test repeated in the month of August which proved negative. I felt some pains in my neck and mild pain in my armpit but no lymph node. Am still full of fear. What else can I do to know my HIV status

  3. Hi – your experience is very common. So far you have just been very lucky. If your pattern is taking HIV treatment (ART) and he has an undetectable viral load, then the risk to you is very low.

    If he is not yet on treatment, then it is important to use condoms.

    best wihes

  4. mandy

    i recently learned that my boyfriend is hiv positive after sleeping with him for more than 5 months without using condoms, i went to a clinic a week ago after loosing a lot of weight, i tested negative and i went to buy hiv test kit after another week just to confirm and it came negative again, is this possible though… please help

  5. santhvan

    dear sir/madam
    i was participated in sex with a guy on june 3rd, on that day i just touched my edge of penis with his edge of penis for a minute, after that on june 8th and june 18th and july 14th and july 24th i was tested my self by tridot test 4times came negative so plz give me reply am i safe or not is i need any further test plz help

  6. Herpes is a much easier infection to catch than HIV. However when one infection occurs the risk of the second is often higher. This doesn’t mean that you are likely to have HIV, but you should still have the routinely recommended confirmation test 3 months after your last has sex. Please see your doctor about treatment to manage the herpes infection.

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