Anonymous
Hi. I had a hiv test 5.2 months after exposure. It was negative. I suffer from psoriasis and use topical steroid cream for many years. Would this cause a false negative?
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helpline-volunteer
Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about whether the use of a topical steroid cream for psoriasis could lead to a false negative result on a HIV test.

HIV antibody tests are not affected by many circumstances. These include "infections, medications, most vaccinations, putting on weight, eating or drinking anything before the test, use of alcohol or recreational drugs, mouthwash or time of day" (1). Therefore, the cream you were using for your psoriasis condition will not influence the result of your HIV test, and therefore will not lead to a false negative result.

False negative results "most often occur when people test in the first few weeks after infection, during the ‘window period’ of a test" (2). In your case, this is not an issue, as you mentioned this test result came > 5 months after your suspected exposure.

With regards to confirmation about the results of your test, it is important to note that once the window period has elapsed (two months after possible exposure to HIV), if you test twice, using a different test device on each occasion, and both tests give a negative result, you can be confident that the result is accurate (2).

All the best,
AIDS Vancouver Online/Helpline,
Shirley

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Additional Resources: 
(1) HIV test accuracy, results and further testing
(2) False negative results on HIV tests
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