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, your partner needs to check whether the positive HIV test was checked by a second test in a lab. All rapid tests, need a positive result to be confirmed. This is because of the small chance of a false-positive result.

If the confirmatory lab result (called “western blot”) is positive then your partner is postive. Vrial load tests will also check for HIV rather than an immune response, so sometimes can be used.

Even if your partner is HIV 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.

242 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Nathi,

    If your partner is on meds and is undetectable then the risks are close to zero. Please see the PARTNER study for more info:

    http://i-base.info/htb/30108

    The risk of infection through one act is minimal. However, it can happen. If you are worried, then you will need to test.

  2. NATHI

    I had protected sex with my partner who is HIV positive 29 November 2016.but the condom burst. after few seconds i realized, and immediately got out, and changed the condom.so i am wondering if there’s any possibility that i might be infected..i have not tested yet..

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