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when to test

May 23, 2001

I had a possible exposure on 2 occasions end of 12/00 and mid 1/01. I was tested at 9 weeks from 1/01 exposure resulting in negative hiv AB 1&2, negative NAT(Test for RNA), positive p24 with a negative neutralization. I was told this was more than likely a false positive since the other tests were negative. I did have mono when I was a teen would that effect the p24? I had a follow-up elisa at 10 weeks 5 days, also negative. Do I need to re-test? If so when? and what could make a p24 give a false positive? In regaurds to your health if it is a false positive do you need to check for the reason it is giving that? Please answer.

Response from Dr. Pavia

I would agree that the p24 is likely to be a false positive. In your situation, with the one funky test result, a repeat antibody assay (elisa aka EIA) at 6 months probably is a good idea, since your first two elisas were on the early side. Comparisons of RNA to p24 show that when p24 is positive, RNA is almost always positive. I am not familiar with the neutralization you mention, but I presume it is a way of looking for false positives, and failure to neutralize suggests a false positive.

False positives for p24 are not known to be associated with specific conditions that you need to have checked. The test itself has some inherent errors for technical reasons. Hope this helps ATP

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