Question from the reader: Can my HIV test results be false-negative because I take medications? I had a corticosteroid injection days before being tested.

Answer: A false-negative result happens when a person who has HIV gets a negative result after being tested.

Theoretically, corticosteroids may cause false-negative HIV test results, however, there is no scientific evidence that it happens. In other words, it is very unlikely that one shot of corticosteroids would lead to a false-negative HIV test. We have searched hundreds of scientific articles – there is no evidence that it happens.

False negatives have been reported in people taking antiretroviral medicines, whether as HIV treatment, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).