false positive due to hepatitis A and cold or flu

Question

Hey Doc,

Gotta say that I enjoyed reading your responses :) great sense of humor.

I have an interesting situation. I am going to get my 8 week anti HIV test tomorrow but I can't help but worry about getting a false positive result because I suffered from Hep A about 14years ago and I am now still suffering from cold (just cough and runny nose).

Is it possible for my body to still be producing antibodies to those two occasions that might cross-interfere with the ELISA test? I am in Indonesia and I am not sure if they use both ELISA and Western Blot test together or just ELISA here because the form for blood test just said "anti HIV"

Been reading around that even a common cold or flu could cause false positive and that in Africa, HIV testing is no longer viewed reliable because infections such as herpes and Hepatitis could also do that.

Time and thoughts appreciated.

Joe

Answer

Hello Joe,

HIV-antibody testing remains very reliable. Your fears about a false positive resulting from your bout of hepatitis A 14 years ago or your recent cold are completely unwarranted. Please note false-positive results are quite rare and when they do occur they are quickly discovered by follow-up more-sophisticated testing.

Go and get tested! Good luck.

Dr. Bob