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May 25, 2001

Dr. H,

Could you put this issue to rest. I have been given conflicting information about the impact certain autoimmune disease would have on the results of an antibody test. In the case of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis specifically, would a person who is recently HIV-infected tend to (a)produce more antibodies thus resulting in a possible false positive or (b) not be able to produce HIV antibodies thus resulting in a false negative? Would having one of theses diseases in addition to being recently HIV-infected impact the window period for detection of antibodies? I am certain that there are a number of people who would appreciate your expertise relative to same. Thank you!!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Autoimmune diseases result in the overproduction of antibodies. Thus, they would be more likely to result in false positive tests. Becoming HIV infected and having one of these diseases, would not impact the ability to detect HIV antibodies with confirmatory tests like a western blot test, or detect the virus by various molecular techniques.

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