Talking about home testing for HIV

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False negatives possible?

Hi, firstly I would like to say that by looking at this page, there are a lot of people whose questions have not been answered, I hope this question gets answered. I understand this is a busy time however people write on here because they are, like myself, very worried and need reassurance.

I am worried that I could have been exposed to HIV 8 years ago, I have taken 2 negative tests last August, both negative. My concern is that the antibodies that this test detects have disappeared from my body, leading to false negatives, is that possible seeing as my encounter was 8 years ago? Or will they always be detectable?

Also, I am hearing a lot about people who just do not produce antibodies at all.

Please can you provide some information regarding my concerns?

Thank you 😊

4 Responses

 Used on 24th February 2021

Hi Sean I was the same as you could not accept it went down the path of test after test. Remember it's not 0.01% you have taken 2 tests so the odds of both throwing up false negatives outside the test window are even lower I tried figuring it out but not that smart haha. It took me a long time to accept the result. And the thing is my possible exposure was not that risky. Hope this helps man

Becky, BioSure UK Ltd
 Work on 23rd February 2021

Hi Sean, I completely understand your worries and you are not alone. Many seem to worry that they are in that 0.01% of people who will receive a false result but two negative results years after exposure are extremely accurate and can be relied upon greatly. I know it's hard but trying to put this behind you and moving on is the next (and hopefully final) step. All the best, Becky.

 Used on 23rd February 2021

Thank you Becky, I really appreciate your reassurance, I guess I am really struggling to accept that my results are negative and I just can’t move on. I can’t help catastrophizing that I could be the 0.01% of people that got false negatives. Really starting to doubt my own sanity! Thank you for all the work you and the team do!

Becky, BioSure UK Ltd
 Work on 23rd February 2021

Hi Sean, I would firstly like to apologise for the recent unanswered queries, the majority of our staff are working from home at the moment so we are all extremely busy as you can imagine. We understand everyones worries and we want to provide reassurance wherever we can. Every post will be answered in time, but if anyone has an urgent query please contact us via our 24/7 WhatsApp number on 07763 489170. In regards to your worry around antibodies being undetectable, this is not the case. Antibodies are produced in response to a foreign virus, like HIV, these antibodies are specific to HIV and remain in the body indefinitely. Regardless of the time since exposure, you would still be detectable. It is great that you have taken the initiative to test after a possible exposure from years ago. The fact that your potential exposure was so long ago, suggests that if you were to have been infected 8 years ago, there would be high levels of antibodies in your blood meaning that the tests performed would have been able to accurately detect infection. Your 2 negative results are extremely reliable and can be taken as conclusive - you do not need to retest. I really hope this helps to put your mind at ease. If you have any other queries please feel free to leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you. Kindest regards, Becky

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