Q. Can a human deficiency virus (HIV) test be negative despite symptoms?

Answered by
Dr. Ravinder K. Sachdeva
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 27, 2022 and last reviewed on: Apr 28, 2022

Hi doctor,

I started testing for HIV after six months of sexual intercourse. It is now one year after exposure, and all the tests are negative. My recent test was a comb aids test, and it came as negative. However, I am worried because of some symptoms.

1. After one year, I developed a sore throat which did not go away even after one month. Took an antibiotic course from an ENT doctor. Also, I developed cervical lymph nodes (three nodes on the right side of the neck). ENT doctor said it is not significant as it is small. So why am I having this?

2. Also, I have sore underarms and did not find any nodes yet.

3. I did almost ten tests (lab-based serum test), all after six months of exposure. However, all were antibody-only tests. CMIA test from a famous lab is also an antibody-only test, it seems. Is it conclusive?

4. One test was the standard diagnostics HIV 1 and 2 test. I saw on the internet that the test also detects the p24 antigen of HIV. Is it true, doctor? So even if antibodies are not produced, p24 would be detected in my blood, right?

Please help me, doctor.

Thank you.



Welcome to

I went through your queries, and The answer to those are,

1) Lymph node enlargement is not a diagnostic sign of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. It could be non-specific and due to any viral or bacterial infection.

2) Underarm sore could be a folliculitis. A picture can be shared for a detailed diagnosis. Please do not palpate or press it frequently.

3) The test will be considered conclusive if there is no further exposure.

4) A combo or duo human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test can look for both antigens and antibodies against it.

I hope my answer helps you. But please revert if there are any further questions.

Thank you.

Hello doctor,

Thanks for your response.

It was the last exposure, and no further exposure. It has been one year now.

1. I do not know if the test detects antigen. The test name is 'standard diagnostics HIV-1&2'. The lab tech says it detects p24. But I am not sure. Is it the SD bioline 3.0 test?

2. Is there any case where the body did not develop any antibodies even after being exposed for eight months to HIV?

Thank you, doctor.



Welcome back to

1) This test is not a fourth-generation test.

2) I have not seen any such cases in my clinical practice.

Thank you.

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