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False Positive Results in Pregnant Women
Dec 5, 2001

I am 9 weeks pregnant with my second child and have been with the same partner for 8 years. During my first pregnancy, I was test for the HIV virus and was negative (this was five years ago.) Neither my husband or I have been exposed to the virus and are extremely low-risk. Needless to say, I tested positive using the ELISA and WB tests. I had a urinary tract infection at the time of the test and there was an article in the JAMA (from website)stating pregnancy itself can SOMETIMES cause a false positive due to different antibodies produced...as well as a list of ailments that "confuse" the test. My question being this....IS THERE A CHANCE THAT THE TEST IS FALSE POSITIVE BECAUSE MY BODY WAS FIGHTING A VIRUS OTHER THAN HIV? AND IF IT IS POSSIBLE, SHOULDN'T WE ONLY TEST HIGH-RISK PEOPLE DURING PREGNANCY TO REDUCE THE RISK OF UNDUE STRESS?(I'm hoping maybe it is a misinterpretation...) I am tired of losing sleep over something that I know in my heart is impossible.

Response from Dr. Sullivan

False positive results occur commonly with the Elisa test which is the reason a western blot test is performed if the Elisa test is positive; the western blot test is very sensitive and specific; if the western blot test is performed correctly fals positive results are extremely rare; you should discuss these results as soon as possible with an HIV specialist; JLS.


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