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.

94 comments

  1. Hi,

    I’m really sorry to hear about your fiancee. It is common for one partner in a couple to be HIV positive and the other to not be. This is the case even if a condom has not been used. HIV is not transmitted every time you have sex with someone who is HIV positive. The fact that you are not positive is down to a mixture of luck and possibly genetic factors.

    You can take your test results as conclusive. You do not have HIV.

  2. Hi

    I’m 36 yrs and my fiance passed away last year in September and we’ve been having unprotected sex for 4yrs and he died a month after disclosing to me. I went for hiv test and they came back negative and I went in august,december and feb and they still came back negative…

    Can it be possible that I’m not infected?

    Confused

  3. Hi,

    Your girlfriend’s test shows that she has HIV. A CD4 count of over 900 is strong and shows that your girlfriend’s immune system is working well still.

    The fact that she has HIV does not necessarily mean that you have it. It is common for one partner in a couple to be positive and the other negative. This can be down to both luck and genetic factors.

    Over time most people if they continue to have unprotected sex with someone who is positive will also become positive. The chance of this happening goes down significantly when the positive person is on treatment.

    You can find more information about HIV status and couples here:
    http://i-base.info/guides/testing/risk-hiv-status

  4. Hi

    My girlfrnd went for a HIV test and she tested positive with a CD4 of above 900. We have been together for 2 years now, having unprotected sex. Does that mean I have it? And from what CD4 count do you have HIV? Please help because I’m confused.

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