Q and A


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.


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.


  1. Jamie

    hello am going to share my story have been have unprotected sex with women in street before 9 years ago never have tested I don’t have any other problem such puke or cough or lose weight or anything like that but am still worry about HIV and I had take HIV test today and am very afraid that might have long time ago and is too late fore me to get medication therefore had take scanner for my full body I check my heart Liver lung and kidney doctor said am very good is this should made me little positive about the test only had one sex in my life

  2. Mpho

    last time I went for a test on the first test I found that I am positive and the lines were clearly seen I tried the second test then I found that I am positive but the other line was not clear so what does that mean?

  3. Hi Lucas, a confirmation laboratory test always needs to be done. If this wasn’t done, it is important to ask for it now.

  4. lucas

    Is it possibl to test negative when already on arv’s? For a person diagnosed positive for a year now,and also claiming that no comfirmation lab tests done?

  5. Hi Cholo, if you have had this result confirmed by a second HIV test at a laboratory, then you have just been unlucky from this one experience. Although it is difficult to catch HIV, it only takes one time for anyone who becomes positive. If the first HIV test has not been confirmed yet, there is a chance the first result might be a test error. Please talk to your doctor about this.

  6. cholo

    I once slept once with a man without using condom n I was on mi periods so I tested positive, can I really b positive?

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