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Hey doc, question after reading an answer you gave to someone
Aug 22, 2010

I looked through the archives and didn't find anything related to this question, and this is mainly for general knowledge... in this question (http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Current/Q210379.html) you mention in your FIRST response that the persons test could be a "false negative." I always wondered about this but never came across any literature of this occurring and all negative tests were considered negative at the time. With that being said (and since you brought it up) (1). What is the likelihood of a false-negative test? (2). What could cause a test to be a false-negative? Your answer (as all the other answers you provide) will be GREATLY appreciated. I've donated once (got the letter in the mail the other day) and plan to do so again in the future. THANKS!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

False-negative HIV-antibody tests are usually due to testing within the "window period." This is the period of time between becoming HIV infected and producing detectable levels of specific anti-HIV antibodies.

Other causes of false-negatives include rare immunological disorders, such as agammaglobulinemia; technical or clerical errors; or having an unusual viral strain, such as type O, type N or HIV-2.

The rate of false-negatives is quite low and ranges from 0.3% in high-prevalence populations to less than 0.001% in low-prevalence populations.

Dr. Bob



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