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Author Topic: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?  (Read 3315 times)

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Offline kitty242

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  • Posts: 6
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.

Online Jeff G

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Re: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 09:55:59 PM »
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 .

Offline Ann

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Re: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 07:11:04 AM »
Kitty,


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.


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.


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.


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. :)

Ann
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 08:10:09 AM by Ann »
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline kitty242

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Re: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2014, 02:09:05 PM »
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.

kitty

Offline 8yearsoflove

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  • negative in love with a positive
Re: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 06:26:26 PM »
I also had. ..I guess have hpv and had unprotected sex for 5 years. I read an article last week on nih.gov 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.
Shan

Offline Teresa

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Re: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2014, 06:53:24 PM »
HI Kitty,

My hubby has been HIV+ for 7 years. I am HIV-. We were married 4 years when we found out. I too was shocked that I didn't test HIV+. We had used condoms for birth control....but there were times we didn't. Since his diagnosis we use condoms EVERY time we have sex (with plenty of lube).

I go once a year and get tested and so far its always HIV-. That Dr. is so wrong! If you use condoms every time you have sex you will remain HIV-. Just remember to use the condoms correctly and use plenty of lube.

Best of luck
Teresa
Hubby HIV+ 5/5/06
CD4:320
  %: 26.7
 VL: <20
Atripla (started it 8/24/06)
 

Offline ohwell

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  • Posts: 42
Re: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2014, 02:47:41 PM »
My partner is negative, we had occasional unprotected sex for a year then i got diagnosed but he tested negative, it's been a year now so far and he's still negative, of course i'm on meds and i bottom (risk is smaller for the insertive partner) and always use condoms (though some people dont use it if the poz one is undetectable).

http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/transmission_zero_1667_25241.shtml

This is an article about the second major study on serodiscordant couples, first one didnt have as many gays couples this one does.

they made me do it

Offline kitty242

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  • Posts: 6
Re: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2014, 08:50:05 PM »
Thanks guys:)

@8yearsof love - The doctor I was seeing isn't an infectious disease doctor, and from his reaction to our situation I don't think he deals with couples like us very often. I'm going to take your advice and look for a new primary care doctor.

@Teresa - One of the things that my husband is most concerned about is that we were planning to have a child sometime in the next few years. He feels like this is no longer an option for us, and he's very distraught about it. I've read that it's still possible to conceive 'naturally' after the positive partner is on the anti-vitals and has a low viral load. Have you had any experience with that? Obviously this is not something we are going to do right away, but I just want to know for the future if it's a possibility for us. I think it is, but maybe I'm just being optimistic?

@ohwell - thank you for sharing that article, that was very reassuring:)

Here's one more question. My husband is afraid to have sex with me, even with a condom, ever since we got the news about him being HIV+. I don't want to be pushy with him about it, but at the same time, I really miss the physical closeness with him. It's only been about 2 weeks since we got the news, so maybe he just needs a little time. I'm not sure if I should ask him about it, or what I should do. Any suggestions?

Offline Teresa

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Re: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2014, 10:50:43 PM »
HI Kitty,

I seem to remember that there were a couple of members that the man was HIV+ and the woman wasn't, and they got pregnant the "normal" way and both mother and child remained HIV-. I have never looked into it because me and hubby are older..in our 50s now. That's the main reason we used condoms when we got married. I had kids that were in their late teens, and I sure didn't want to have a baby in my late 40s.

I know there is "sperm washing" but from what I have read here at the forums I think its pretty expensive. I'm sorry I cant be of more help. Maybe another member can remember more and link it for you.

When we first found out hubby was HIV+ he didn't want to have sex for fear of infecting me. It took awhile. I read all I could and then had him read what I found. The first few times were kinda awkward but after awhile everything got back to normal. Just give him some time. One thing you might do is have him read the lessons here. It really helped us in the beginning.

Hugs
Teresa
Hubby HIV+ 5/5/06
CD4:320
  %: 26.7
 VL: <20
Atripla (started it 8/24/06)
 

Offline kitty242

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  • Posts: 6
Re: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2014, 04:33:39 PM »
Hi Teresa,

Thanks again for your replies:)

After doing some research, it seems very possible to get pregnant the 'normal' way, as long as the positive partner has his viral levels in check. I also read that even if both partners are positive, it's still possible to have a baby with a 97% chance of the baby being HIV-. So all of that was reassuring to me for down the road.

We've been doing a lot better recently. After getting over the initial shock of it all, we're moving forward with getting him to the doctor, and doing everything we need to do. He feels comfortable having protected sex again. And I agree, the first time was a bit awkward for some reason!

Offline 2tcells

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  • Posts: 113
Re: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2014, 01:15:22 PM »
I had unprotected sex while being hiv+( before I found out I was poz) for 9 years and had 2 kids with my wife and shes negative still. Now we just use condoms and she will stay neg as long as we use condoms, its not true that she is going to get it because I have it
7-4-13 diagnosed cd4- 2      vl-220,600
8-3-13                     cd4- 4      vl- 448
9-3-13                     cd4- 40    vl- ud
11-3-13                   cd4- 54    vl-ud
1-9-14                     cd4- 62    vl- 43
4-3-14                     cd4- 110  vl-ud yay!
8-5-14                     cd4- 95    vl-ud boo
9-23-14                   cd4- 97    vl-ud

Offline kitty242

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  • Posts: 6
Re: Long term spouse tested positive but I'm testing negative? How?
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2014, 07:10:22 PM »
Hi 2t,

Thanks for your reply. That's great to hear your story. That makes me feel very optimistic about our future. I will share that with my partner, and I'm sure it will make him feel better as well.

Thanks everyone again for your feedback. It really helped me through this initial period. I feel like everything is going to be ok:)

 


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