HomeAnswersHIV/AIDS specialisthivI was on steroids for my pharyngitis when I took an HIV test. Will it alter the results?

Can HIV occur after nine years of exposure?


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Published At December 3, 2023
Reviewed AtDecember 3, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

My possible exposure to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) was nine years back. I had chronic fatigue for almost a year along with severe thoracic back pain, frequent UTI, and sore throat. Last year I had mononucleosis-like symptoms, pharyngitis, and a perianal abscess that was surgically drained. Last year, I underwent an HIV antibody test using Chemiluminescence, and the result came back negative. But before the test, I was on steroids for my pharyngitis. I do not remember the drug or the dosage but I had taken it for almost a week and got my test done after 10 days of completing the course along with antibiotics. I have read that steroids cause immunosuppression and can cause a false negative HIV test. Can a seven-day course of steroids for acute pharyngitis affect an HIV test that is done after 10 days of finishing the course? Do I need to retest? Also, can I have HLA-B35 or other alleles or subtypes that do not produce specific anti-hiv antibodies and remain HIV seronegative until HAART (highly active anti-retroviral therapy) is initiated?

Thank you.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I can understand your concern. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection has a window period of one to three months during which the test results can be false negative. According to WHO (World Health Organisation), all results are considered conclusive at 12 weeks after the last exposure. As in your case, the exposure was almost nine years back and your test results now have all been negative. It is not possible for one week of steroids to give a false negative HIV even after such a long period of exposure. You would not need any further testing and you can be sure that u have not acquired HIV. Stay relaxed and concentrate on your health. It is not possible to guess who is positive for which allele. You need to go for corresponding genetic testing.

I hope this helps you.

Thank you.


Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Rakesh Kumar Bahunuthula
Dr. Rakesh Kumar Bahunuthula


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