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Can Hep B Vaccine cause a false positive HIV test?
May 17, 2001

Help DOC! thanks BD for your time, I'm finding this site to be #1 HIV infosource!!! #1 As regular blood donator, I was suprised that my donation was rejected, due to false positive for HIV. Could it be do to 2nd series of Hepatitis B vaccination.

Q#2 Is the red cross donation center obligated do follow-ups if you are bad test donor?

Very confused, more worried, horribly embarressed! please help, thanks!

Response from Dr. Dezube

Two excellent questions 1) Can Hepatitis B vaccine cause false positive HIV test?? Apologies in advance for a lengthy answer.

Many vaccines can stimulate "cross-reacting" antibodies. It is definitely theoretically possible that the antibodies produced in response to the hepatitis B vaccine will cause a false positive reaction in the HIV ELISA test. HOWEVER, the laboratory will run a confirmatory Western Blot and if you are "false positive", then the Western Blot will be NEGATIVE.

One other alternative (albeit a long shot). Let's first ask why you got the Hepatitis B vaccine. Did you get it because your provider thought you are in a risk group which should be vaccinated, or did you get it because you were exposed to blood and your provider wanted to protect you? If the latter case is true, then how do I know that the blood exposure didn't contain HIV, so that the false positive is really a true positive.

2) The Donation center is indeed obligated to follow-up on positive tests.

(PS: You asked a whole bunch of other questions, which I had to cut our because of space considerations. You can re-ask them on a separate query if you wish}. BD.


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