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possible false positive?
Aug 26, 2011

I just did a home HIV antibody test a few days ago and received the results which were positive. Immediately that day I went to a physician to have a test conducted. The rapid antibody test came back as positive as well so they ordered a full blood test to verify the results. The past week and a half I have been battlying an upper respiratory infection and taking medication. I have also been in a relationship with one person the past four years and my last HIV test a year ago was negative. Should I be concerned at this point that it is positive? I have to wait a week for the results of the final test so needless to say I have not been sleeping much the past few days.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi.

Both Home Access HIV tests and rapid antibody tests are considered preliminary tests. They would need confirmation with a more specific test, such as a Western Blot.

If you tested HIV negative last year and have had no HIV exposures, your risk of being HIV infected would be nil. You report you have been in a relationship with one person for the past four years. If that person is HIV negative, your chance of being HIV infected is essentially nonexistent. You'll have your definitive answer when the follow-up test results come in next week. In the interim you could have your partner get a rapid HIV test. If he or she is negative, your HIV risk would be significantly reduced to the remote possibility that your partner has been very recently infected and is still within his or her seroconversion window.

Should you be concerned? Well, any positive HIV test, even a preliminary one, is always anxiety provoking; however, the real reason to be concerned is potential risk. If you've had no HIV risk, your preliminary positive test results will most likely be false positives. Write back with your final results. I'm here if you need me, okay?

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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