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HIV Faintly Positive
Oct 31, 2008

Good Day Dr.

I am worried, last year I had Herpes Zoster and did my HIV test and it resulted faintly positive in 1 occassion and then did it again the same week and it came positive can you give me a more clear explanation on Faintly Positive and also do you think that the herpes zoster can alter the results?

Thanks

Response from Dr. McGowan

False positive screening tests for HIV can be seen in certain settings. These are more likely when people are tested who have little risk for HIV or in pregnancy. A positive Elisa or rapid screening test would have to be confirmed with a Western Blot test (usually run on the same specimen). If the confirmatory test is negative no further testing is needed. If the confirmatory test is indeterminant than a repeat test should be done in a couple of weeks to see if the test has become positive. If it is now fully positive it is indicative of a recent or acute infection. The reason for this is that antibody numbers build up over time and a weak positive early on can become a full positive once the immune system has had time to make a more mature response.

Best,

Joe


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