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Antibiotics, Lyme Disease, and HIV testing

Jul 17, 1998

After testing negative at 3 and 6 months, I had a positive ELISA, negative Western Blot at 12 months. My counselor said it could be a cross-reaction or a recent infection. I mentioned that I had a positive LYME Elisa 6 mos. earlier.She took more blood just to give me peace of mind. When I returned for those results, I was so relieved to hear negative - that I did not ask if the ELISA was still showing positive. Now, the same symptoms that I angusihed over for the first twelve months continue, and I wonder if maybe I am one of the rare cases where my body takes a long time to produce antibodies. I am a married female and the risk was vaginal intercourse with male /unknown sexual history in late Jan. 1997. My husband knows of the incident and to my knowledge he has not put himself at risk since that date either. The puzzling thing is that in June 1997 when the lyme test was postive, both my elisa and

western blot were negative, as they were in September

1997. Do you have any information on the effects of lyme disease on hiv tests? Would antibiotics affect the hiv elisa results? Given that the counselor who gave me my 14 mos. result did not suggest re-test AND my husband assures me that he did not put himself at riskat any time after Jan. 1997, should I be re-tested? I KNOW that testing is the only way to diagnose but I feel that after so many tests - what does it mean? Had I stopped at the 7 month test I probably would not have the anxiety that I have today.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. Let me begin by saying that every one of your test results came back with an overall negative result. This means that no antibodies were found. If a person has a positive ELISA test, but a negative Western Blot, this is a negative test result overall. For more information about testing, read the post When taking an antibody test, what does a Negative, Positive, and Indeterminate test result mean?.

Drugs like antibiotics, antidepressants, and the vast majority of prescription and non-prescription drugs will not affect antibody tests. The only drugs that may affect antibody tests are drugs that significantly suppress the immune system (like drugs that are given to organ transplant patients to reduce the chance of organ rejection). I have not found anything in the medical literature to suggest that Lyme Disease would have any effect on HIV antibody tests.

Let me conclude by saying that all of your tests came out with an overall negative result. Assuming no other possibilities of exposure, there is no need for further testing. At this point, you should be able to put your fears of HIV behind you.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

Home tests outside the United States
Drug use and antibody tests

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