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How can I still have HIV even if my HIV test is negative?

No matter which type of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody test you take, if it is negative, you are either uninfected or in the early stages of infection before your body produces HIV antibodies.

It can take up to six months -- longer, in rare cases -- for the body to produce detectable amounts of HIV antibodies. This early period is called seroconversion. Some refer to this time as the "window period" since it offers a window of opportunity for people to unknowingly infect others.

In some cases, an HIV antibody test result is indeterminate or equivocal, meaning HIV antibodies have not yet fully developed. If an indeterminate reading continues for six months or longer, you are considered uninfected.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.