I'm just curious as there was a bit controversy around this topic. It is possible for person with AIDS be negative for HIV antibodies?

As of 1989, the CDC reported that 5% of all U.S. AIDS patients who had been tested for HIV to that time were HIV-negative. No figures have been reported by the CDC since 1989.

If so, how it's possible?


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You need to decide what you want to know. The paper you link talks about patients wihich have a low CD4+ count, but are not positive for HIV. So you want to know how this happens? Or do you want to know if it is possible for someone who is HIV positive (and has developed AIDS, which is the latest stage of the infection) to not develop antibodies against HIV? $\endgroup$ – Chris Sep 1 '14 at 10:28
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, how it's possible that they were HIV-negative or in general if there are any other more recent studies. More information, then better. $\endgroup$ – kenorb Sep 1 '14 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ Ur question is still pretty confusing to me. Could you please edit it. Your question speaks about something and the comment you posted talks about something else. $\endgroup$ – The Last Word Sep 1 '14 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ There is no need to downvote this question. I can still be clarified but nothing further. $\endgroup$ – Chris Sep 1 '14 at 11:19
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    $\begingroup$ If you're looking for support for your "HIV doesn't cause AIDS" conspiracy theory, you're in the wrong place. This paper doesn't mean what you think it means, it isn't evidence for your conspiracy theory like you think it is. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Sep 1 '14 at 11:28

Usually an antibody test against HIV is positive three month after the infection. Before this time a test can only be done with molecular biology methods as PCR. However, it is possible, that patients which have definitely been tested in an early phase using molecular biology methods and which afterwards receive a antiretroviral therapy (ART) that these patients do not develop high serum levels of antibodies, as the virus titer in the blood is not high enough for a sufficient reaction and thus stay undetected by the tests. This has been improved, so that the kits are supposed to have a higher sensitivity now. See these papers for more details:

I haven't found any papers on the decline of HIV-antibodies in AIDS (which is the late stage of the disease), but if they do, this is probably due to the effects of the infection on the immune system.

Low counts in CD4 positive T cells (which are usually associated with an HIV infection) can also occur with other diseases. See these papers (especially the first, as this is a review which contains a lot of further references):


Sure, it is possible in the late stages of AIDS. Once the immune system is pretty much wiped out, the person has AIDS and is unable to produce HIV antibodies. There is nothing left of the immune system to produce antibodies of any sort.


This is why DNA based HIV detection system using quantitative PCR is better. It is not dependent on an immune response that is being destroyed by HIV.


protected by Chris Sep 16 '16 at 6:17

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