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.

204 comments

  1. Hi Zama, all positive tests need to be confirmed by a laboratory test. If this second test is positive, then you are HIV positive. Until the second test there is a chance that the first result was a test error. If it turns out that you are positive, then perhaps you became positive before your started dated your current partner. Many people can be HIV positive for years without knowing this.

    It is good that you got your results in time to start HIV treatment (ART). This will be good for both your health and the baby. Many people never find out when they became positive, but moving forwards now is much better than looking back.

  2. zama

    i have tested positive and i am also pregnant my partner also tested but he was negative i haven’t cheated on him every since we started dating , can you please assist i am worried

  3. Ruthmphepo

    Last month i slept with aman who is married and he is not circumcised i slept with him two times without condom but am afraid that if i go for a test am i not going to get the positive results.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Posting rules. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>