Q and A

Question

How can my partner test HIV positive and I test HIV negative?

I went to test HIV with my partner.

I found out that she is positive and I was negative. After six months i went back I tested negative.

Please help as I don’t understand.

Answer

First. maybe check that your partners positive HIV test was checked by a lab. Some rapid tests, need a positive result to be confirmed. This is because of the small chance of a false-positive result.

Even if your partner is positive, it is common for one person in a couple to test positive and the other negative. This can happen even if they have been having unprotected sex.

This is mostly just luck. Over time, most people will catch HIV if they continue to have sex without a condom.

Even though you have not caught HIV so far, you can still catch HIV in the future. Genetics may explain some cases of protection, but most are just down to luck and chance.

Now you know your partners HIV status, you can still stay together and have sex safely. You can prevent infection by using condoms when having sex and not sharing needles or blood products with your partner.

The risk of transmission will also drops dramatically if and when your partner uses HIV treatment. The PARTNER study reported that HIV is very difficult to catch if their partner has an undetectable viral load.

Note: This answer from June 2011 was updated in October 2014.


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.

110 comments

  1. Hi,

    It is common for one partner to test positive and one to test negative. Please have a read of the answer above for more detail.

  2. My girlfriend tested positive but I tested negative. Now she says I am also positive and I infected her even if it does not shows positive on me.

  3. Sure, exercise is good. Keeping physically active – and also mentally active – is a good idea for everyone.

  4. I don’t understand if it is good for people with HIV to take part in soccer games?

  5. The safest way to reduce this risk is to use a condom. This protects against HIV and many other infections. If your girlfriend sometimes sleeps with her husband, it sound unlikely that you know whether her husband also sleeps with other people. You can only know about your own health by going for an HIV test yourself.

    For information about HIV risk see this FAQ page:
    http://i-base.info/qa/factsheets/hiv-transmission-and-testing
    and this online guide:
    http://i-base.info/guides/testing

  6. My girl friend had sex from her husband without condoms 9 months back now he using condoms …… If i have sex with her without condoms any chance to get hiv or any disease?

  7. Hi Pinky

    It sounds like your friend has been lucky. the test showed that she is much more likely to be HIV negative than HIV positive.

    The only way to be sure is to have the second test, if this is what the clinic recommended.

    This would be much better to know that to spend so much time and energy worrying about HIV.

    This link on confirming testing may help:
    http://i-base.info/guides/testing/test-accuracy-results-and-further-testing

    If you want to read more about HIV transmission, see this guide:
    http://i-base.info/guides/testing

  8. Hi, my friend thinks that she is HIV because she lost her boyfriend who was HIV. She tested for HIV and she was negative now she is afraid of going back to test. It has been a year now.

  9. Well i know someone thats positive and never have spread the hiv out of two marriages…how is that possible after almost 15 years?

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