Are There False-Positive HIV Tests? Why?

false-positive HIV

The CDC recommends that Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 should get HIV tested at least once in their lifetimes. With that being said, many are wary of getting a false-positive HIV test result.

But do HIV tests really give false-positive tests? Why do they happen and what should you do once you get a false-positive test?

That’s what we’re here to look at today. Read on to find out more about false-positive results for HIV tests.

What is an HIV Test?

As you might have guessed, an HIV test examines whether or not you have contracted the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. There are three common types of HIV tests that are regularly used.

One is a nucleic acid test or NAT. It involves drawing blood from the patient to see how present the virus is in their system.

Another type of HIV test is an antigen/antibody test which searches for both antigens and antibodies in a person’s system. These are laboratory tests that also involve drawing blood.

There are also rapid antibody tests that detect antibodies for HIV in your blood or oral fluid. These rapid tests work best when using blood drawn from the veins as opposed to oral fluids or from a finger prick.

So are False-Positive HIV Tests Possible?

The short answer to whether you can get a false-positive HIV test is: yes, but it depends on the circumstance. There are several causes for false-positive tests. This involves both the timing and the type of test.

After someone contracts HIV, there is a window period for when a test can accurately detect the virus in the body. A person doesn’t produce antibodies to fight the infection right away, hence this grace period.

In other words, someone can test too early for HIV and get a false-negative or false-positive. 

As mentioned before, you can get both an HIV lab test and a rapid, at-home test kit. The problem with rapid tests that we mentioned earlier is that many use oral fluids or blood from a finger prick.

These testing methods have been known to produce false-positives. While self-testers aren’t necessarily less accurate, the method by which you collect the sample affects the end result.

Some have reported getting a false-positive for HIV since they’ve contracted another STD or STI. As such, you should get STD testing done on top of your HIV testing just to be sure.

So What Should You Do?

If you are worried about a false-positive result, the best way to obtain peace of mind is through further testing. Testing for HIV often means testing more than once with the right time frame in mind produce better results. 

Make sure you get a test done after giving yourself enough time after potential exposure. That way, you won’t risk getting another false-positive.

Prep for HIV Testing

Getting a false-positive HIV test result is always a possibility, but they are avoidable. Use this guide to help you understand how they occur and find the right methods to get the most accurate HIV test result.

Are you looking for reliable STD testing or herpes treatment? Contact us today and we’ll get you started on a solution right away!

Genital Herpes: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

genital herpes

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are over 570,000 new cases of genital herpes each year in the US. While there is no cure for genital herpes, there are ways to prevent the spread. Realizing you have genital herpes may make you feel ashamed, but you shouldn’t.

We want you to feel safe in understanding and treating this sexually transmitted infection. We will go over what causes genital herpes and what the symptoms are. We will also help you through the diagnosis process and treatment options.

Read on to learn more about a genital herpes diagnosis.

What is Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes (or Herpes simplex virus type 2, HSV-2) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is contagious. This infection causes painful blisters on the genitals. These symptoms can clear up and return later.

HSV-1 is the virus that causes cold sores around the mouth. It can be transferred to the genitals through oral sex. It is often spread through saliva when kissing someone with open sores.

HSV-2 is a common virus found in about 13% of the world’s population. HSV-1 is found in around 67% of people around the globe.


HSV-1 and HSV-2 enter the body through mucous membranes and broken skin. Once the virus has entered your body, it mixes with your cells.

HSV spreads via vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone infected with the virus. You can also get HSV from close contact with someone who has open sores. It is also transferred in bodily fluids.


Many people infected with HSV don’t know they have it. Signs and symptoms may not be present or may be mild. If you have symptoms they will appear 2-12 weeks after exposure.

Common genital herpes symptoms include:

  • Pain or itching in the genital area
  • Small red bumps or white blisters
  • Ulcers from ruptured blisters
  • Scabs can form as the ulcers heal
  • Blisters around the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headaches, body aches, or fever
  • Diagnosis

You should talk to your healthcare provider if you suspect you have genital herpes. Your doctor will be able to give you a genital herpes diagnosis by looking at or testing the sores if they are there. If not, they can take a blood test for diagnosis.

There are even options to get tested right from your own home. Swell Clinic will set up a virtual consultation with a licensed medical provider. They will work with you on the best plan of care for your situation.


There is no cure for genital herpes, but there are treatment options for those who have this STI. Suppression therapy uses antiviral medications to speed up the healing time of an outbreak. You should take these at the first signs of a herpes outbreak.

Other ways to ease outbreaks from home are to keep the affected area clean and dry. Use warm water and mild cleansers during an outbreak. You can also take anti-inflammatory medicine to relieve pain.

Book an Appointment Today

If you are presenting with symptoms of genital herpes, don’t wait to make an appointment. The sooner you get treatment, the less likely you are to spread this virus to others.

Book a virtual appointment with us today to discuss your symptoms and treatment for genital herpes.

Women and HIV: Are Women Less Likely to Have HIV?

women and HIV

Did you know that 23% of the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV are women?

This might surprise many readers who see HIV as being a gay man’s disease. However, that just isn’t true. Also, there’s a big difference in the ways HIV impacts women specifically. 

Read on to get accurate, helpful information about women and HIV.

HIV Facts: Demographics Matter

The number of new HIV cases among women in the US is on the decline. Yet race, age, and other demographics mean that some groups are disproportionately impacted more than others. 


African-American women are especially affected by HIV. This group accounts for six of every ten new HIV cases among women.

For African-American women, the rate of HIV diagnosis was 14 times that of white women in the US. For Latinas, it was three times that of white women.

Globally, indigenous communities experience high rates of HIV. There are substantial disparities in HIV rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in various countries.


HIV affects women of every age but especially women in their middle years and older.

In 2018, women aged 45 and older accounted for 36% of new HIV diagnoses. That’s twice the proportion of women under 25 years old.

Transgender Women

Trans women are affected by HIV to a much greater degree than other groups.

In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that the proportion of trans women living with HIV is 49 times higher than in the general adult population.

Is HIV Transmission More Common for Women?

The most common mode of HIV transmission is sex which involves vaginal and penis interaction. In other words, heterosexual sex. 

It’s important to note that HIV is twice as easily passed from an infected man to a woman as the other way around. More than 8 of every 10 women living with HIV got it from sex with a person with a penis. 

Sharing syringes for injecting drugs is another common mode of transmission.

Unfortunately, there are serious gynecological issues that impact women living with HIV. 

Gynecological Issues in Women Living With HIV

When we discuss women and HIV, we must discuss the gynecological issues at stake. 

Certain gynecological conditions are more common, more serious, and/or more difficult to treat in women living with HIV than those who are HIV-negative.

These include the following:

  • Vaginal infections such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis
  • Sexually transmitted infections or diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis
  • Genital herpes
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease 

Click here to learn about where to go for affordable STD testing in the US. 

Let’s Keep Talking About Women and HIV

We hope the facts in this article highlight how important it is to continue to have conversations about women and HIV.

Until we remove the stigma around this virus, countless individuals will continue to be negatively impacted.

At the Swell Clinic, we provide professional and discreet sexual wellness and healthcare in a convenient virtual environment. 

Contact us today to book your simple, non-judgmental virtual appointment.