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Allergies and HIV?
Mar 12, 2005

Dr. Sullivan -

I enjoy reading your column and find you very knowledgeable. As I see you have some background in allergy and immunology, as well as a great deal of HIV experience, perhaps you'd be kind enough to briefly answer this.

Can having allergies (hay fever, eczema and the like) affect HIV testing?

We say that allergies are a disorder of the immune system. And it's also true that if one has an immune system problem/disease, it can delay antibody production, correct? So, does having allergies fit into this category of something that may delay antibody production past the typical three month window? Or is that a different type of immune response? (I actually see that allergies are basically a hyper-alert immune system, so I wonder also if it would be the other way around and might mean an immune system that produces antibodies quickly.)

I recently had a negative 13-week test after one low risk exposure. I just wonder if my immune system is already taxed from allergies, is there any way possible that I could still have HIV and be having delayed antibody production/seroconversion? Should I do another test later or is this enough?

It may seem silly but it's been on my mind. Thank you for your time.

Response from Dr. Sullivan

The presence of allergies has no effect on HIV testing; JLS.


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