Hello Could you please tell me whether a negative Elisa test at 3 months is conclusive for someone who has lupus. I have read that having an autoimmune disease like lupus may cause a false positive or false negative result. What causes a false negative result? Would you reccommend another test at 6 months and is the Elisa test still suitable for someone with Lupus? Finally, will someone with lupus still produce hiv antibodies?

many thanks Patrick


Hello Patrick,

Yes, a negative HIV test (ELISA) is conclusive, even if the person getting tested has lupus. No additional testing would be warranted due to a concurrent lupus diagnosis. I am aware of only a single case in which a false-positive HIV test was attributed to autoantibodies in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus and end-stage renal (kidney) disease. This was reported in 1993. Interestingly enough this patient ultimately turned out to actually be HIV positive, which was verified by positive cultures. (The follow-up report was published in J. Med in 1994.) I have also read two other reports of patients with autoantibodies possibly causing indeterminate results (false-positive ELISA and indeterminate Western Blots). Both of these patients were HIV negative by viral culture.

False-negative HIV test results are not caused by lupus or other autoimmune illnesses. False-positives can be caused by (1) testing in the window period, (2) agammaglobulinemia, (3) or technical or clerical error.

Dr. Bob