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RAPID TESTS - Are they correct?

Nov 4, 2007

I have been told by the "X" State Department of Health that I am HIV+. I have shown to be poz according to the Western Blot test at their labs. My viral load is <50 (undetectable) and my CD4 count has ranged from 450-600 over the course of the past 5 years.

However, whenever I use any form of a rapid test I receive a negative result. This includes being tested via oral or blood tests using the following brands of tests: OraSure, OraQuick, UniGold and ClearView. I work at a testing site, and this is why I have tested myself on each of these tests. ALL of them come back negative for HIV. I'm curious what would make them show this result and be the opposite of that found on a Western Blot test?

Response from Dr. Frascino


If you have tested repeatedly negative over five years using a variety of rapid tests plus have had undetectable plasma viral loads and normal CD4 cell counts, we can assume your initial positive Western Blot was a false-positive.

A Western Blot without a screening repeatedly positive EIA (enzyme linked immunoassay) has a 2% rate of false-positives. False-positive results for both ELISA plus Western Blot range from 0.0004% to 0.0007%. The causes of false-positive tests can include autoantibodies, HIV vaccines, factitious HIV and technical/clerical errors.

I would suggest re-contacting the "X" State Department of Health and demanding a repeat evaluation.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

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