Jun 27, 2012
Hi Doc, Is it possible to be HIV infected but, remain negative on duo/combo tests for years after possible infection? As in, can your body control the virus using antibodies that are not detected by these tests? I ask because my wife and I are both experiencing low immunity related symptoms like Seb derm and periodontal disease several years after unprotected sex with an African sex worker. Yet I've tested negative a number of times on these tests out to 5 years after my risk.
| Response from Dr. Wohl
The combo test looks for HIV antibodies and a protein on the outside of the virus. So, if this is negative, you are HIV-negative.
You can have a viral load test done but I doubt this would be positive. There are some people who have HIV-negative immunodeficiency but this is very rare and characterized by a low CD4 cell count despite no evidence of HIV. You can have the CD4 checked and if not low, you do not have this problem.
A physician can order these tests and others to look for any immune problems.
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