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Can anxiety affect test outcome?

Jan 17, 2001


I was diagnosed with herpes a few years back and was terrified to test for HIV. I suddenly lost about 10 pounds about a year later and was TOTALLY convinced I was HIV+. My question is: since the HIV test looks for antibodies, is it possible to have such a high level of anxiety that you actually lower your antibody levels such that the test can't "pick them up"? I waited plenty of time for the test to be accurate but wondered if my VERY ACUTE anxiety was enough to alter the test's accuracy?

Response from Mr. Kull

There is no evidence that acute anxiety would result in an inaccurate HIV antibody test result. However, anxiety CAN lead you to doubt the accuracy of your antibody test.


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