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False positive with the PCR test

Apr 21, 2011

I e-mailed you a couple of days ago about a possible false positive PCR test. Unfortunately for me, I had a follow up rapid results test and it was positive. The news left me shocked and devastated. I still have to have a couple of other tests to confirm it, but at this point, I have accepted it. My only risk factors were two very brief instances of oral sex in the two to three month period before the test. I have already went to an HIV positive group for support and that was a big help. But I am still in a shock about the diagnosis. I am trying to distract myself by spending all my time thinking and worrying about it and constantly beating myself up for not being more safe.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Sorry to hear this alarming news! However, if oral sex was indeed your only risk factor and if your workup to date includes only a positive rapid test and positive PCR, there is still a chance your results are false-positives. You need a confirmatory test, such as a Western Blot, before your test results are considered "HIV positive." If indeed you are now virally enhanced, you should establish care with an HIV specialist for further evaluation and management. Is it possible you had an HIV risk prior to "the two or three month period before the test?" Perhaps you were infected some time ago. Oral sex carries a very low, but not completely nonexistent risk for HIV transmission/acquisition.

Write back with your confirmatory results and/or after your evaluation with an HIV specialist and I'll post your follow-up report. If you are confirmed to be positively charged, check out the wealth of information on this site. I'd begin with the HIV basics and Just Diagnosed Resource Center, both easily accessed on The Body's homepage.

Good luck. I'm here if you need me, OK?

Dr. Bob

anxiety and guilt. Do I need to test
re: disclosure, need advice

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