Nov 16, 2008
hello, my fiancé was diagnosed with HIV- POSITIVE although he doesnt have any symptoms that usually appear with it. he recently had a flu vaccine and skin disease vaccine as well...and I have read that this might cause false positive results. he had several tests in the past year and they all came negative..but this time it was different..and he was in shock because he doesnt have any sexual activities nor drug usage. please i need to know what is going on exactly.... my wedding got canceled because of his test result.
Response from Dr. Frascino
I cannot tell from your post exactly what type of tests your fiancé had performed. If indeed he's repeatedly tested HIV negative and has not had any potential HIV exposures (unprotected sex, sharing I.V. needles, etc.), his positive HIV test may well be a false positive. It is possible that flu vaccine can cause problems with HIV test results. (See below.) I would suggest your fiancé see an HIV specialist. That physician will be able to offer specialized tests to firmly establish your fiancé's HIV status. Don't cancel the wedding chapel just yet. There's certainly a possibility your Mr. Right is HIV negative. And even if he's HIV positive, make sure you don't let your Mr. Right get away for all the wrong reasons. Or you may well be throwing away your "happily-every-after."
Good luck to you both.
Gardasil plus flu vaccine, false positive HIV?(INFLUENZA VACCINATION AND INDETERMINATE WESTERN BLOT TESTS) (FLU SHOT AND FALSE POSITIVE HIV TESTS) Dec 15, 2007
A week ago my 17-year-old daughter received a letter from Red Cross indicating she screened HIV positive after donating at a recent blood drive. Results were HIV-1/HIV-2 Positive, Confirmatory Indeterminate, NAT Negative. Retesting was done at a hospital lab. Results are HIV (weak) negative and we await Confirmatory results. My daughter appears to have no risk factors. She is a virgin, has no history of sexual activity whatsoever, no tattoos, no IV drug use. Ten days before the blood donation she received (her first ever) flu vaccine and also the second of three Gardasil shots. She was also prescribed Provera a month earlier. After reading previous posts I believe you draw no correlation between vaccines and false positive HIV tests, however there does seem to be recent information to the contrary. Information published in March 2006 in the New England Journal of Medicine asserts recent inoculation with any brand of influenza vaccine was significantly associated with a false positive screening assay for HIV antibodies. Guidelines of both Johns Hopkins and the New York State Department of Health list influenza vaccination as a known cause of indeterminate results on Western blotting for HIV antibodies. Given the escalating international awareness of various influenza strains, it is very important to remind patients and clinicians that influenza vaccination may cause cross-reactivity with HIV antibody assays. I'm not qualified to debate the validity of this information, but it is somewhat comforting for a family in a situation like ours to think that a vaccine might be the issue. My question: What is your opinion of the likelihood of an HIV positive confirmation considering my daughters history? Thank you.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Thanks for your post. Yes, we are trying to get this more recent information out to a wider audience. The influenza vaccine changes from year to year to cover the most likely flu strain candidates for the coming flu season. We do have recent information that flu vaccination can cause some degree of nonspecific cross-reacting antibodies, which can confound HIV-antibody tests. Generally speaking, these cross-reacting antibodies cause "indeterminate" rather than "false positive" HIV tests. Please note a reactive ELISA with subsequent indeterminate Western Blot is considered to be an "indeterminate" HIV test result, not a positive test! HIV testing center and certainly HIV specialists are well aware of these potential complicating factors and we have methods for sorting out serological results that are either in dispute or indeterminate.
In your daughter's case of essentially no potential HIV exposure and a recent flu vaccine, you can rest assured her indeterminate Western Blot is not related to HIV seroconversion, but rather to the detection of cross-reacting antibodies. That her NAT was negative confirms this fact, because NAT testing does not rely on antibody detection.
Happiest Holidays to you and your entire family.
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