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False positive HIV results cont...

Jul 2, 2010

Hello again Dr. Bob, I posted a question on 6/26. Well now I have gotten my second test results back and now I'm even more confused. Ok to recap, the first false positive was collected on 6/18, the HIV 1/o/2 Abs-Index value was 1.45 & the Qual says Repeatedly Reactive Abnormal. The western blot was negative. The Dr had me do another blood test with CD4, Panel 083824, RNA, Real time PCR, & Venipincture, non lca req. collected 6/24 results: HIV 1/o/2 Abs-Index value 1.33 high HIV 1/O/2 Abs, Qual Repeatedly Reactive Abnormal Western Blot Indeterminate, Band p24 Ab says Equivocal

HIV-1 RNA by PCR <48 HIV-1 not detected log10 HIV-1 RNA unable to calculate result since non-numeric result obtained for component test.

Ok nothing was flagged on the Helper CD4 so I will not give you the whole list. The Absolute CD 4 Helper is 954

I also want to let you know I had a yeast infection during the second collection. Which is really unusual for me. I don't know if the stress made me have one or what. My first question is obviously what does this mean and why is my western blot now indeterminate? Is it possible that I just recently got infected? My boyfriend & I have been having unprotected sex since March. I had him go take another test yesterday. We won't find out for 2 weeks. Thank you for any advice, So Unbelievably Scared!

Response from Dr. Frascino


Diagnosing HIV infection really isn't rocket science and wouldn't be so confusing and anxiety provoking if it were done properly.

As I mentioned last time, a repeatedly reactive (positive) ELISA coupled with a negative Western Blot (WB) is considered a negative HIV-screening test, assuming the test was taken outside the window period.

There was no indication for getting CD4 cells or a quantitative HIV PCR RNA viral load test based on your first negative HIV-screening test. Repeating the ELISA and reflex Western Blot would be reasonable in some situations. Your repeat testing shows a reactive (positive) ELISA and indeterminate WB with an equivocal p24 band. If you have had essentially no HIV-exposure risk, the ELISA/WB would be considered a false-positive/indeterminate test. You provided additional information in this latest post indicating you have been having unprotected sex with your boyfriend since March. Your boyfriend is being retested. Assuming his tests are negative, your results would have to be considered false positive/indeterminate. Although not initially indicated, your undetectable HIV PCR RNA viral load now provides additional supportive evidence that you are not infected. Cd4 counts are not diagnostic for HIV.

My advice is simple:

1. Await your boyfriend's repeat HIV test results. If he's HIV positive (unlikely), you'll need HIV-antibody testing out to six months from the date of last exposure (unprotected sex) to confirm your status. If your boyfriend tests HIV negative, your tests can be considered false positive/indeterminate. There are many reasons for false positive/indeterminate HIV test results. You can review this information in detail in the archives of this forum.

2. If for whatever reason your HIV-antibody test results remain unclear, I'd recommend a qualitative HIV PCR DNA test.

From the information you've provided to date, I would still surmise you are HIV negative.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

False positive HIV results Jun 26, 2010


I just had my annual labs done and my HIV test came back as a false positive. The western blot was negative but the other two factors of the hiv panel were positive. The one that is supposed to be >1.0 was 1.45 so just barelt high. What does thid mean and why would someone get a false positive? I am not a high risk patient either. I am a 34 year old woman with one partner. I am really freakin out! I went and did more labwork yesterday to get a cd4, viral load, etc.. but I have to wait a week to get results. I'm so scared. What do I do? I am also worried because I work in the medical field. And I have Vista insurance, I would never be able to afford the meds. Does someone with hiv automatically qualify for medicad? Oh my goodness, I have a million things running through my mind! Please give me any advice! Thank you, So unbelievably scared!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello So Unbelievably Scared,

Relax. You are HIV negative! A positive ELISA coupled with a negative confirmatory Western Blot is considered a negative HIV screening test. (The Western Blot is a more specific test!) There was absolutely no indication for you to get a CD4 count or HIV viral load! Those tests are not warranted and the results will undoubtedly be normal.

Dr. Bob

Trying again. - please help
i feel (AMBUSH, 2010)

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