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Can HIV cause a false positive lupus test?
Sep 18, 2013

I posed this question a couple of days ago and have not received notification of an answer. My guy friend has been living with HIV for almost 3 years. He has had several rashes on his back and arms (not the typical butterfly rash on his face, however). His dermatologist did several biopsies and the result came back as discoid lupus. A blood test was run and the dermatologist informed him that the lupus was systemic. I'm wondering, given that there is no definitive blood test for lupus (plus the absence of the tell-tale butterfly rash)could his HIV have cause a false positive result for lupus?? I'm not sure is this is the correct category for asking this question but I'm really concerned about this. Please forward the question to the proper category if this isn't the correct one. I care about this man and need to have some answers. Thank you, in advance!

Response from Dr. Henry

The symptoms of lupus and HIV infection and Lupus can overlap/mimic each other. The relationship between HIV infection and connective tissue disorders like lupus appears complicated. That being said, with a skin biopsy positive for discoid lupus and a + blood test for lupus the diagnosis seems firm and unlikely to be due to the HIV infection only. Treatment for HIV infection has a variable impact on some connective disorders iike lupus since improved immune function after starting effective HIV treatment can cause a flare up of lupus and other similar conditons in some cases. Close monitoring by rheumatologist/dermatologist and HIV doctor working together recommended,. KH

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