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 it would be worth checking that your partners positive HIV test result has been confirmed by a laboratory. With some rapid and point of care tests, all positive results need confirming because of the small chance of a false-positive result.

If your partner is confirmed positive, then it may help to know that 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.

Mostly this explained by luck and the role of other risk factors. Over time, most people will catch HIV if they continue to put themselves at risk.

Even though you have been exposed and not infected, you can still become infected. 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 also drops dramatically if and when your partner uses treatment for their own health.


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.

76 comments

  1. Hi Crisphina

    I don’t know what you mean by “routine drugs” and “main drugs”.

    All HIV drugs are active against the virus.

    Unfortunately i-Base do not run a contact service for people to meet each other.

  2. My viral load is 856 for over 3years I tested +, I am still on routine drugs, when will I start d main + drugs… Again Hw can I get a + man for marriage course am of age nw,am about 25+. I cannot change d situation’so I have no option than to accept it…

  3. Hi,
    I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s recent diagnosis, how is she coping since finding out she is HIV positive? Has she started treatment?

    For information about your risks of testing positive please see our guide to HIV testing and sexual transmission.

  4. Me and my wife we have been together for almost five years now, and we have been blessed with a very beutifull daughter , but on 11december 2013 we went for a routine check as she is pregnant again for about seven month and she tested positive and I was negative and we never used protection , so what are my chances of being HIV+ after I repeat the test in three month time?

  5. Hi Matokelo,
    As the question above tries to explain, HIV isn’t transmitted every time somebody HIV positive has ‘unprotected’ sex with an HIV negative person. There are lots of things that can make it more or less likely that HIV is transmitted- such as if your husband is on HIV treatment, what his viral load is, and if either of you have any sexually transmitted infections. Our FAQs from couples in this situation answers some questions on this point. Please look there, and then let me know if you still have questions.

  6. my husband is hiv positive and i am negative, i still do not understand because we were not using protection.

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