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Influences on a positive result
Aug 9, 2003

Is or are there any particular cases where people have tested positive for the HIV antibodies, yet were not positive? If you were taking medications and had a virus at the time, not HIV, would that have any influence on the test?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I'll answer the second question first. No, taking medications or having a virus (not HIV) will not influence HIV test results.

Next, yes, it is possible to test positive on an ELISA (antibody) test, and not be HIV-infected. We call this a "false positive," because the person is not really infected. If an ELISA test comes up positive, the result needs to be confirmed with a more sensitive second test called a Western Blot. If the Western Blot is negative and the ELISA is positive, the patient is HIV-negative. If the Western Blot is positive and the ELISA is positive, the patient is positive. Hope that helps.

Dr. Bob



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