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H1N1 vac. and a positive HIV test result Help!
Jan 17, 2010

Hey Doc, On the 5th of Dec. 09 my Unit gave the Swine Flu Vaccine and 25 days later I gave blood at the Red Croos and shortly after recieved a letter of abnormal test results. I went in to speak with the counselors and they showed me the results and I felt my life was over with no plan in sight. So, since getting the news I've been making efforts to get more info on this but your site is the only current source I found dealing with the issue. And after reading your response to the topic I'm slightly more confident that it's a false positive. I called the CDC and the had no defenant anwser on the subject the H1N1/ HIV reps. where somewhat uncertain. Red Cross showed me three test that were conducted that showed pos. the last was the NAT test and they stated that one doesn't lie, but I'm going next week to DHEC for a test then a doctor as they told me do a follow up. Should i wait three months before take that test? becuase as I told them I'm experincing no traits of HIV infection. -the hopeful one

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Hopeful One,

I agree follow-up testing is warranted and there is no need to wait three months. It can and should be done now. It is at least theoretically possible that H1N1 vaccination could cause false-positive HIV-antibody test results. The vaccination, however, would not affect non-antibody HIV tests, such as PCR (or NAT) testing. But it's important to note that PCR testing can also also have false-positive results unrelated to H1N1 vaccination. (That's one of the reasons we generally don't use it for routine diagnostic testing.)

The first question is: Have you placed yourself at risk for HIV disease? If so, you need testing for that reason alone! (Wait until three months from your last potential exposure.) Regarding the blood bank screening, you should get an ELISA test with confirmatory Western Blot if the ELISA is positive without delay. If there is ongoing concern about potential false-positive results, I would recommend a qualitative HIV PCR DNA test.

Good luck. Write back and let us know what your follow-up tests showed!

Dr. Bob



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