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diabetes - false positive elisa test??

Jul 25, 2007

First of all, thanks to all the experts on this website for their contribution!! I found a lot of my questions answered on this forum. Thanks :))

One question remains unanswered, though.

Here is my situation. For immigration purposes (i.e adjustment of status / green card), I had to test for HIV. Even though I did not engage in any risk behavior over the last months (I have been in a monogamous relationship with my husband - HIV negative- for the last four years), I decided to test confidential first, before releasing officially my HIV status to government agencies.

This month, I took 2 HIV rapid tests (Ora Advance - oral swabs) that turned out negative. (The 2nd oral test was taken on Friday, July 13th). Reinsured about my status, I scheduled five days later (July 20th) a non- confidential HIV blood test. Elisa turned out to be positive, and was followed by a negative western blot test. As a result, I was diagnosed HIV negative, despite a positive Elisa test.

Today (July 24th) and because of my puzzling Elisa positive result, I decided to retest confidential for the third time (oral swab), and tested negative again.

Among the explanations my doctor gave me for a false positive Elisa test, are auto-immune diseases (other than HIV), lupus, syphilis, prior vaccinations, malaria, blood transfusions,organ transplants OR DIABETES!!!. (I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a few months ago.)

I have never heard of diabetes as a possible cause for a false positive Elisa test!! Since I don't have any immune disease that I know of , nor any of the conditions named above (besides diabetes type 2) .. can diabetes be, indeed, a possible cause for false positive results on Elisa?? or are lab technical errors more likely to cause a false positive result?? Thanks in advance for your time

Response from Dr. Frascino


I am not aware of any information that suggests diabetes causes false-positive HIV ELISA tests. The important fact is that you are definitively and conclusively HIV negative. We will probably never know why that single ELISA was reactive. I do not believe you have any ongoing medical conditions that would cause false-positive tests, because you had other HIV-antibody tests done shortly before and soon after the single reactive ELISA. Therefore I don't believe you have a chronic medical condition falsely influencing the HIV test results. A technical or clerical error is the most likely culprit, but at this point it really doesn't matter.

Dr. Bob

hiv through blood sucking
bbq (Andrea from Argentina)

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