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Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?

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Hello everyone.

My partner and I have been together for about 3 years. Prior to when we first met, he had an HIV test about 3.5-4 years ago, which was negative. During our time together, we have been monogamous with each other, and due to both of us having difficult and sordid past histories, we have always been very open and honest with each other. We both had STD and HIV testing prior to our relationship, and felt confident that we were both 'clear' of any major issues. Earlier this week, during some routine testing, he tested positive for HIV which came as quite a shock to both of us. We went to the clinic together, and we both took a saliva HIV test. His was (again) positive, but mine was negative. I went for a blood test today (I'm waiting for results) because I don't understand how he can be positive and I can be negative after all this time has passed.

I'm a little confused. We've been having unprotected sex the entire time we've been together (again, because we are in a monogamous relationship, and neither of us engages in any high risk behavior anymore). For 2 of our 3 years together, I had HPV (it finally went away about 9 months ago). I also had 2 biopsies and we had intercourse a few days after the biopsies when I wasn't experiencing pain in that area anymore. Long story short, there were many, many, many times that I was unknowingly exposed to the virus through sexual relations with my partner.

How on earth can I be testing negative? Is this a common occurrence? Or can it just take awhile to get positive test results back?

The doctor that I saw today said that since the saliva test looks for the antibodies and the blood test looks for the virus, the results could come back differently. He also told me that if I wanted to stay with my partner, it was inevitable that I would contract HIV at some point. (He was also a bit of a jerk about it, but that's besides the point).

I don't want to be HIV positive, but I feel like it's inevitable that I will be. I didn't feel relieved after that saliva test, I just felt confused. Any support from people that have been in a similar situation would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Jeff G:
Hi Kitty . The average time to seroconversion is 22 days. Most who are infected will test positive by 6 weeks. For various reasons a small number will take longer and that is why we follow the CDC recommendation to test at 3 months for a conclusive negative result.

Its possible your partner had a false positive HIV but you will know soon enough when his western blot test comes back . Until the time that he test conclusive one way or the other its rather futile to guess what is what or discuss why or when .

Many people around the world and on this very forum are in long term relationships with a positive partner and remain HIV negative . That doctor is biased and ill informed about HIV so I would not spend too much energy on his ignorant opinions about HIV transmission . The key to wait on the confirmation test and have safe sex .

HIV is sexually transmitted from unprotected anal and vaginal sex so make sure to use condoms correctly and consistently and you will avoid HIV .

You only have 3 questions in this forum but if your BF is confirmed HIV positive I will move the thread to Some one I care about has HIV forum . Until then please only post in this one thread and save a question to come back with the test results . Im wishing you the very best .


--- Quote from: kitty242 on March 04, 2014, 09:29:26 PM ---
My partner and I have been together for about 3 years. Prior to when we first met, he had an HIV test about 3.5-4 years ago, which was negative.

--- End quote ---

I know you can't go back and change history, but the wise thing to have done when you two got together would have been to use condoms for the first three months of your relationship, and then test for hiv before stopping condom usage.

If his recent test results aren't false positives (they might well be), then he was either still in a window period when he last tested, or he became infected after the last test but before he entered into a monogamous relationship with you.

He needs to have further testing with an antibody test done through a blood draw and also a Western Blot test. A WB test is performed to weed out false positive antibody results.

False antibody results can happen due to pregnancy (obviously not the case here), an underlying and possibly undiagnosed autoimmune condition, and sometimes they just happen. This is why it is essential that any positive hiv antibody result is backed up with further testing before a person can be considered truly hiv positive.

The blood test your doctor mentioned that looks for the virus itself is NOT a diagnostic test and it is normally only done once a patient has been confirmed as hiv positive through both antibody and Western Blot testing. The tests the doctor referred to have various names; DNA PCR, RNA PCR, and Viral Load testing. They're all basically the same thing and all look for the virus rather than antibodies.

--- Quote from: kitty242 on March 04, 2014, 09:29:26 PM ---
He also told me that if I wanted to stay with my partner, it was inevitable that I would contract HIV at some point. (He was also a bit of a jerk about it, but that's besides the point).

I don't want to be HIV positive, but I feel like it's inevitable that I will be.

--- End quote ---

The fact that this doctor said "it was inevitable" that you'd end up poz if you stay in this relationship is NOT beside the point AT ALL. It points to a doctor who is exceedingly ignorant about hiv and if I were you, I'd find a new doctor ASAP.

Assuming your partner is actually hiv positive and hasn't had false positive rapid test results;

1. All you need to do in order to avoid hiv is to use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse.

2. Once your partner starts treatment and has had an undetectable viral load for at least six months, with no other active STIs present, the chances of you contracting hiv from him become extremely remote. So remote, in fact, that poz/neg couples today are conceiving children "the old fashioned way" by having unprotected intercourse. The negative women are remaining negative (and obviously the children are born hiv negative as well).

edited to add: There is currently an hiv/aids scientific conference going on (CROI) and someone posted a discussion about one of the studies being presented concerning treatment preventing infection of negative partners in poz/neg couples. You can read the thread here, but please remember that you may not post in that section of the forums.

3. You can also take a daily tablet called Truvada that acts as a preventative to hiv infection. Once your partner is on meds and has been undetectable for six months, Truvada for you wouldn't be that important. Many insurance companies today will accept scripts for Truvada for patients in serodiscordant (poz/neg) couples. 

Please make sure your partner has had his preliminary diagnosis confirmed with the correct follow-on tests before you assume that he's definitely positive. Good luck where that's concerned and don't think it's impossible - we've seen a fair share of false positive rapid results here over the years.

As Jeff mentioned, please be aware that until your partner is confirmed poz you are restricted to this section of the forums and you only get three free posts here, so use them wisely. Please do keep us posted. :)


Hi Ann and Jeff,

Thank you for your replies. We both got our blood test results back. I am negative, and my significant other is positive. I'm still very confused, and I'm wondering if I'm going to show up positive in the near future.

We're both feeling very sad and worried. I'm angry with my doctor for even making the suggestion that IF I stay with my significant other I will eventually contract the virus. There is no 'IF we stay together' option here. This does not change the fact that I love him and want to spend my life with him. We feel like the only way to get through this is to do it together.

I still don't understand how I'm negative. It doesn't scientifically make sense to me, and I have a very logical brain, so I'm utterly mystified.

My S/O is afraid to have sex with me, even with a condom, which makes me feel sad, but I'm willing to accept that decision on his part, until we get a little more education about all of this.

We are planning on finding an I/D doctor, and we're going to go together.

I'm in shock right now. We had both put our sordid pasts behind us years ago, but I guess part of it followed.

I'm sorry, I guess I'm venting a little bit, so I'm probably rambling.

Is it possible to move this post to a different board, as Jeff had mentioned in his post? Is there a pos/neg couple forum that I can participate in? We're afraid to tell anyone that we know right now, because we don't want to be judged. So I could use some support from people here.

Again, thank you for your comments and for your support.


I also had. ..I guess have hpv and had unprotected sex for 5 years. I read an article last week on about the acidity in the vagina being one contributing factor, and tiny amounts of exposure another POSSIBLE explanation.  I get test q.6 months for the past almost 3 years and I am still negative. After 5 years our infectious disease doctor said it's safe to say that I am in the clear. I don't understand how I was sparred. I wish we both could have been. Good luck.
Oh I was curious is your doctor someone who deals with mainly hiv/aids patients? Ours is and I am so happy with him
It's not that the other doctor wasn't qualified but our new one has a lot to compare things too, and is more accepting of our mixed status. I like him a lot better.


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