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Preparation for HIV TestThe Body: Rick Sowadsky M.S.P.H., C.D.S, Answers to Safe Sex Questions
Jan 31, 1997

Rick, Is it advisable to avoid eating for a certain number of hours before taking an HIV antibody test? Usually, doctors will tell patients to take a conventional set of blood tests on an empty stomach; I was wondering if the same caution correctly applies in the case of an HIV test. Additionally, are you aware of any drug that, taken within a certain period of time before undergoing an antibody test, could render the results of that test invalid? The reason I ask is that, stemming from my inability to sleep the night before my last HIV test, I took one 15mg capsule of Restoril, a prescription sleeping agent. My test result was negative, but is there any possibility that my ingestion of Restoril about eight hours before having blood drawn for the test could have neutralized the antibodies in the drawn sample, thereby negating my negative result, so to speak? Thanks very much for all of the generous time you devote to answering these types of questions.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. When taking HIV antibody tests, whether you eat or not (prior to the test) will not affect the test results. In addition, taking drugs like sleeping pills will also not affect this test. So if you tested negative, that indicates that no antibodies were found. As long as it was more than 6 months after your last possible exposure to the virus, your negative test would also indicate that you were not infected. I'm always glad to hear when someone tests negative!

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



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