Understanding a Negative Result

Understanding a Negative Result

What does a negative test result mean?

vial of blood

A negative result doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have HIV. This is due to the window period.

If you test again after the window period, have no possible HIV exposure during the window period, and the result comes back negative, you do not have HIV.

If you’re sexually active or use needles to inject drugs, continue to take actions to prevent HIV, like taking medicines to prevent HIV if you’re at high risk.

If you have certain risk factors, you should continue getting tested at least once a year. Learn more about who is at risk for HIV and why they should be tested more often.

If I have a negative result, does that mean my partner is HIV-negative also?

No. Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status.

HIV is not necessarily transmitted every time you have sex or share needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment. And the risk of getting HIV varies depending on the type of exposure or behavior. It is important to remember that taking an HIV test is not a way to find out if your partner has HIV.

It’s important to be open with your partners and ask them to tell you their HIV status. But keep in mind that your partners may not know or may be wrong about their status, and some may not tell you if they have HIV even if they are aware of their status. Consider getting tested together so you can both know your HIV status and take steps to keep yourselves healthy.