How can one partner test positive and one test negative?

Q: How can one partner test positive and the other test negative?

A: It is quite common for one partner to test positive and the other negative, even if they have been having sex without condoms.

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

Even though you have been exposed and not infected, you can still catch HIV in the future. 

Now you know your partners HIV status you can still stay together and have sex safely. 

If your partner has an undetectable viral load on treatment, there is zero risk, even without condoms.

The PARTNER study showed this for both vaginal and anal sex and in gay and straight couples.

You can use PrEP to reduce the risk to close to zero. This is a great way to protect your health.

You can also stay safe and prevent infection by using condoms when having sex and not sharing needles or blood products with your partner.

Last updated: 1 June 2021.