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false results

Nov 13, 2007

I was diagnosed as HIV positive 8 days ago. Over the past 10 years, I have had 3 partners. All have been tested and are negative. My current boyfriend is undergoing PEP. The other two will be re-tested, by my request. Lying is not an issue with any of them. Can one of them be a carrier, test negative, yet pass it on to me? I had a flu shot 10 days before the HIV test. Could this be a factor? I am in shock and so are they. Do you have any thoughts? After talking it over with all of them, it seems that one of the negatives must be false, or my positive is false. Thank you so much.

Response from Dr. Frascino


I agree with your assessment. If these are indeed your only potential sources for infection, then either one of the negative results or your positive result was false. The common reasons for false-negative HIV tests include testing during the window period and clerical or technical errors. There are also a number of reasons for false-positive tests. You can review this information in the archives. You should raise your concerns with your HIV specialist. If your test results are in dispute, a repeat antibody test and possibly a DNA-PCR may be helpful. Retesting your potential contacts is also warranted. And, of course, it always bears repeating that a simple thin sheath of latex would have prevented any worry, let alone any chance of HIV transmission.

Good luck with your situation. It is indeed possible your positive was a false-positive and appropriate additional evaluation of this possibility is warranted.

Dr. Bob

oral sex - NGU and hiv
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