From Positive to Negative
May 24, 2010
Hello, My friend tested positive for HIV with the Elisa and WB. After a traumatic 5 months he got retested and the tests came back negative. He has been told to wait another month for another test. His initial test was taken shortly after Monoclonal antibody therapy for non Hodgkins lymphoma, and he is also a type 1 diabetic (are these the reasons for the false positive? We don't know).
Short of waiting for the 3rd results, can you offer any info as to why he would test positive initially? And is it now possible (from your experience) to get a positive again after a negative?
Thankyou if you can offer some advice (i've seen two counsellors and neither can).
Response from Dr. Frascino
There are two possibilities. Either the initial positive HIV test was a "false positive" or the recent negative HIV test was a "false negative" test. False-positive HIV tests are more common than false-negative tests. That your buddy had recent monoclonal antibody therapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma could potentially account for his "positive" HIV-antibody test.
Rather than wait another month, I'd suggest your buddy get a qualitative HIV PCR DNA test or the APTIMA HIV PCR RNA test. These tests do not rely on anti-HIV antibodies, but rather assay directly for a piece of the virus's genetic material. If he has an "undetectable" PCR, he can rest assured his initial test was a false positive. (I believe this to most likely be the case and that your buddy is HIV negative. Write back to the forum and let us know the outcome.)
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