I have seen a similar question in the archives, but would like to hear from you Dr. Bob. (CELEXA AND HIV TEST RESULTS, 2009)


Dr. Bob, I had an exposure exactly 24 weeks back. I was so stressed over the exposure, that my doctor prescribed me Citalopram. I was taking the Citalopram medication through out these 5 months during the morning and again in the evenings i used to drink beer, to forget my problems. I finally got my HIV antibody test after 24 weeks, and it is negative. Can i move on? Do you think the mixing of Citalopram with beers would have caused a wrong HIV antibody test or will it delay the sero conversion period. Please answer my concern, donation on the way. Do you think i should get a PCR test?



You are correct: I have indeed answered similar (identical?) questions many, many times previously and these responses are easily accessed in the archives. I'll reprint a sample below. Did you really think I would change my answer about Celexa and its potential effect on HIV test results? This is nearly becoming a QTND (question that never dies). Needing to "hear it from you Dr. Bob" is being selfish when you should clearly see the same information posted in the archives over and over again is not going to change! Be reasonable!

To specifically address your concerns:

  1. Your 24-week negative HIV test is conclusive.

  2. "Can I move on?" I don't know, can you? Certainly there is no medical reason you shouldn't!

  3. Celexa should not be taken with alcohol, as booze may increase Celexa side effects. However, mixing Celexa and booze will not affect HIV test results or alter the seroconversion window period.

Thank you for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org).

Dr. Bob

will a combination of a depressant and an anti depressant and Lorazepam, affect the HIV 1or HIV2 or HSV 2 or Hep B or HepC result? Jul 18, 2007

Dear Dr. Bob, I was taking celexa for like two years and i used to drink a lot(every day)due to the stress over an exposure, during the same period. I used to take celexa for my depression and still be drinking alcohol,one more thing is that four days before i got tested, i took lorazepam 0.5 mg, every day one tablet, so four tablets until my day to test came. After two years i got tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, Herpes and other STD's. I also took lorazepam 0.5mg four times, every day in the last four days before getting tested. I am glad that everything came negative.

Because i was mixing alcohol and also taking depression medication(celexa 20 mg) every day for two years, will it effect any of these tests or test results or even the window period or anything doctor. I also took the lorazepam 0.5 mg medication, just before getting tested. I took four lorazepam(medication) 0.5mg for four days before getting tested. The tests i am talking about are HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, Herpes and other STD's.

I looked at your forms and it was talking about celexa not affecting the test result, but i was worried that a mixture of celexa and alcohol, as to whether it will affect the test result. I just went to the emergency to report my depression, they gave me tranquilizers.

Please help me doctor. I promise you donation.

Will lorazepam, celexa and alcohol mixing affect any of these tests.

Please help me as soon as you can, because i feel like dying.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Celexa, booze, lorazepam and tranquilizers???? WOW! Nealy? Nealy O'Hara from Valley of the Dolls, is that you again??? Relax, dearie, none of your "pick-me-ups" or "calm-me-downs" will affect your HIV or hepatitis tests, OK? In case this isn't Nealy, I suggest that you, whoever you are, Netflix a copy of Valley of the Dolls and watch it ASAP!

Dr. Bob

will my final woooooohooooooooooooo ever come doctor. Why do u hate me, the Italian male. Aug 2, 2004

Dear Dr. Bob, God bless u for the great work u are doing and my thoughts and prayers are always with u for a long life. The society needs people like u. Please answer my concern, Dr. Bob. I dont know why u are ignoring me. Will i ever get my final woooohoooooo...... I m the same guy who has been on celexa(20mg/day) for the past two years for OCD, i had a low risk exposure like nine months ago, and got tested recently(Elisa antibody) test which came out to be negative. Two reasons why i m still concerned doctor, a) I read in a post that antidepressants can have effect on Interluekins(IL10) and then it also said that if thats the case then how can the body produce antibodies. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/438509 and http://www.cfs.inform.dk/inflammation/maes b) When i was not getting an answer for u, i potsed the same question to two other experts, in which they said celexa should not interfere with the antibody test, the other response was celexa should not likely affect the elisa test at all. What do they mean, how would a normal person take the meaning of these responses to be. Do they mean that it wont or, do they mean there is a slightest chance that they might affect. or am i taking it in a wrong way coz. my mind is full of negative thoughts.

Now my question is Do u think if celexa can have effect on interleukins. If it did then does that mean that my elisa is false negative. If u think there is a slightest chance that it would effect, then do u recommend anyother tests for me like directly checking for the virus or anyother just to be sure. More than myself i m worried about passing the virus to my wife without my knowledge. Till now i had three elisa tests, all off them are negative. I told u that the doctor refused to give a PCR test. Please help me.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello OCD-guy,

I've been ignoring you only because:

  1. I've answered very similar questions before. Check the archives.

  2. You've already gotten response from two other experts telling you exactly the same thing: Celexa does not interfere with HIV testing.

OK, OCDer, you've "potsed the same question" enough times. I'll be as unambiguous as I possibly can:

  1. Celexa does not interfere with HIV testing; the production of anti-HIV antibodies, or the window period.

  2. A "normal person" would indeed have realized that from the previous responses.

  3. Yes, your mind is full of negative thoughts.

  4. No, I do not recommend any additional HIV testing.

  5. I do recommend additional OCD therapy, as your current treatment, Celexa, is certainly not doing the trick.

  6. Yes, your final WOO-HOO is here and has been present for some time now.

Dr. Bob

Celexa and my eight month test reult Jul 4, 2004

Dr. Ewald,

I got tested negative like ten days ago after eight months of exposure, Elisa test. I have been on antidepressants(Celexa) for the past two years now. Could u please tell me if taking celexa would have affected the test result(by not proding the anti bodies), or will it affect the window period. If it affects then what should i do. Is there

any definite way of ruling out HIV in my case. I m ready to get any test done, coz. i lost everything till now and i dont want to destroy


Please answer. THank you in advance.

Date of Exposure, Oct 4th 2003.

Date when i got tested, Jun 20th, 2004

Been on anti depressant medication since Feb 2002.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Even though I'm not "Dr. Ewald," I can advise you that Celexa will not affect HIV test results or the window period. By the way, this information was waiting for you in the archives!

Folks, just a reminder to check the archives before posting your question. Of ten the answers are already there!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

HIV test result. Third try please answer. Aug 18, 2004

Dr. Moyle, Will celexa have any immunosuppressant effects, so that it will raise the IL 10 values, affecting the metabolism and not producing the antibodies. I got tested for HIV like ten days ago after eight months following a low risk exposure(EIA Elisa Antibody test). the result came out to be negative. But i am still worried, the reason being is that i was on antidepressant medication(celexa 20mg/day) for the past two years. My question is do u think that the use of the medication might have affected the test result by producing a false negative or could the use of this medication might have inhibited the production of the antibodies(by not producing the antibodies) or affected the window period or the seroconversion time. If it did then do i need any other tests like directly checking for the virus itself(PCR or cd4/cd8 etc). Please advice going paranoid, ur answer will help me a lot. Is there an definite way to rule out HIV in my case. I m ready to get any test done coz. i have lost everything. Date of exposure Oct 4th 2003. Date when i got tested Jun 20th 2004. Date from when i was on celexa Feb 2002. If u dont have time please say a Yes or a No, if it will have any effect on the test. or can i just move on dr. i have to get married, i m not worried about myself, i m worried about passing the infection to my fiance or my family. THanks Doctor

Response from Dr. Frascino


Celexa will not affect HIV antibody test results, the body's ability to produce anti-HIV antibodies, or the duration of the window period.

Your eight-month negative test following your "low risk" exposure is definitive and conclusive. As they say in Australia, "No worries mate!"

Stay well.

Dr. Bob

HIV Test Affected by Antiobiotics? Jul 13, 2007

Hello Dr. Bob,

I hope you are well and enjoying your summer.

Since my doctors have responded to my questions regarding transmission with incredulous stares, I won't bother with questions about transmission itself.

My question revolves around the HIV test itself. I will go for a test in 8 days (Oraquick) and wonder if there are certain factors that effect the reliability of the test.

I take 2 medications: Celexa (60 mgs/day) and Tetracycline (250 mgs/day). I have been on both for just over two years. I take the Celexa for an anxiety disorder and the Tetracycline for acne.

Could either of these medications produce a false negative or false positive result? I have read that sometimes false positive reflect a reaction to other (non-HIV) antibodies. Could antibiotics produce a similar effect?

I am particularly worried about a false positive. I've been living in Korea for a year and my mental health is revertly slowly to its former state. Should I test positive falsely, I might not be in such a good state.

All of my best wishes,


Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey Gary,

I could stare at you incredulously as well, because I've answered these questions multiple times before (check the archives), but you'd never know, because our interchange is via the Internet and not face to face. (Come to think of it, I could also be typing this buck naked and you wouldn't know that either.)

To briefly answer your question, neither Celexa nor tetracycline will affect HIV test results. Antibodies are not the same thing as antibiotics! Antibodies are circulating blood proteins produced by the immune system to fight specific invaders. Antibiotics are drugs (medicines) used to fight infection.

Dr. Bob

Dr. Bob, how are you? Couldn't find an answer to my question. Sep 25, 2007

Dr. Bob, I have been taking celexa for the past three years. Lately i got a PCR test done for HIV 1 and HIV 2.

Would the use of celexa interfere with the accuracy of the PCR test? I got the PCR test done after 4 months of my exposure.

Thank You.

Response from Dr. Frascino


The recommended screening test for HIV infection is an HIV-antibody test three months or more following the last exposure. PCR testing is not recommended for routine screening, due to the rate of false-positives, other technical considerations and cost. Celexa would not interfere with any HIV-related tests.

Dr. Bob

big WOOHOO! Dec 8, 2008

Dr. Franscino,

I have been visiting your forum for two years now after a one night stand where I had unprotected sex with another man. I was the insertive partner for about 15 seconds when I quickly pulled out and realized the risk I was taking. Since that night I have been horribly stricken with anxiety and guilt. I finally grew a pair and yesterday I went and got tested here at our university. In light of AIDS day, they offered free Clearview rapid testing. I watched the entire process of the test and thankfully it was negative. I just have a small question. I used Anusol-HC about two weeks ago, I applied it twice a day for three days after I developed a Thrombosed Hemorroid. I assume that because the encounter happened two years ago, three days of anusol wouldn't have much effect on two years worth of antibody production, I am just not certain. I was wondering if I should get tested again at a later date due to the hydrocortisone used in that medication? Do you think it could have been a false-negative? I am also wondering if Celexa has any effect on HIV tests? Thank you so much for your time and dedication to this very real cause.

Response from Dr. Frascino


I agree you have been "stricken with anxiety and guilt." What you have not been stricken with is HIV! Neither the hydrocortisone in Anusol-HC or Celexa will affect the accuracy of HIV-antibody tests. Do I think you had a false negative? No.

Congratulations and WOO-HOO! Now stop the worrying and start the WOO-HOOing.

Dr. Bob

Since you never answered my question, i have decided to take a PCR test. Aug 9, 2007

First of all May God Bless you. I will definitely send you donation.

this is the guy who used analpram for five years from 2002 and elidel for about one year and pramosone for a year for anal itching. I used the same pramosone for the scalp, for the wart on the scalp. OLUX Foam(clobetasol propionate) , 0.05% for scalp. Analpram-HC1 % (Pramoxine HCL/HYDROCORTISONE), this was a cream given to be by the doctor for the skin tag i had in the anus. Pramosone(pramoxine HCL and hydrocortisone acetate) for scalp problems. Elidel (pimecrolimus 1%) for anal itching. I am telling you why i am still having hard time believing my HIV antibody test. three reasons and two questions: 1) my anus used to bleed sometimes when i do excessive itching and same thing with the ward on the scalp, it used to bleed some times when i do excessive itching. My question is i am thinking that this analpram for the anal itch, might have mixed with the blood and the pramosone for the wart, might have mixed with the blood on the wart. Is that a problem. I mean will it affect my HIV antibody test result, because both analpram and pramosone have hydrocortisone and I also read in the internet that elidel is a immunosuppressant.

I was taking celexa(citalopram) 20 mg per day for almost three years and I used to drink alcohol every day.

I took valtrex for 15 days in 2001 and that is it. I never took valtrex after that.

My last exposure was in 2004. After that I got 7 HIV antibody tests done until now and all of them are negative. 2) My question is that would the combination of analpram/elidel and celexa and alcohol and valtrex and olux foam, would it have any effect on my HIV antibody test result. Both the analpram and pramosone have hydrocortisone. So that is why i am scared doctor. Please advice. Can I just forget about it and move on.

and third reason why I dont believe the test is If you look at this question and answer of some one, for which you answered. Chronic corticosteroid use and HIV Tests Jun 30, 2006 I've seen you reassure many posters who have been treated intermittently with corticosteroids that the steroids will not generate a false-negative HIV test result. I also read, however, that antibody suppression might be possible in patients taking high-dose Decadron for an inoperable brain tumor. What's the cut-off point? I take high-dose hyrdrocortisone (30mg/day) for primary adrenal insufficiency. I had a negative (normal) HIV test result 6-8 months following my potential exposure (unprotected receptive anal). Aside from one unprotected oral encounter in the interim, I've had no other potential exposures. Is my HIV test result reliable? (Dr Handsfield at medhelp seems to think so, but looking to verify) If it's not, do patients on consistent, high-dose corticosteroids need to get a PCR test in addition to antibody testing for HIV? Thank you for such an excellent resource. In this answer the doctor talks about the person taking hydrocortosine and asking him to take a PCR test and that the HIV antibody test will fail. Response from Dr. Frascino Hello Strata, There really is no specific cutoff point. That is, we can't really say 20 mg of prednisone will have absolutely no effect on antibody production, but 25 or 30 mg will invalidate an HIV test. The immune system's ability to make specific antibodies is a highly complex process. Corticosteroids are immunosuppressants that can dampen down multiple aspects of the immune response, including specific antibody production. It is not only the dose of corticosteroids, but also the duration of treatment that can have an effect. In your case, if you've been on 30 mg/day of hydrocortisone for an extended period of time, I would recommend a PCR rather than an antibody-dependent HIV test. I should also point out my strongest recommendation is for you to use latex condoms and practice safer sex to eliminate the need for testing. Good luck. Dr. Bob THank You so much.

Response from Dr. Frascino


First off, "itching" doesn't cause bleeding; however, scratching an itch certainly could!

Next, your use of Analpram, Elidel, Pramosone, Celexa, alcohol, Valtrex and Olux would not affect HIV-antibody test results. The dose of steroids would be far too small to cause that degree of immunosuppression. Next, your seven HIV-antibody tests out to three years from your possible exposure are conclusive, definitive and excessive! HIV is not your problem. No way, no how! Please note the dose of steroids we use to treat a brain tumor is far different from the amount needed to treat an itchy butt! That would be analogous to using a machete to mince a clove of garlic!

I would advise against an HIV PCR test for several reasons:

  1. It's unwarranted and unnecessary.

  2. The possibility of getting a false-positive result.

  3. Cost.

  4. Did I mention it's unwarranted and unnecessary?

Finally, thanks for your blessing and donation. (www.concertedeffort.org) Both are warmly appreciated. Now stop worrying. Stop sending in the same question and start WOO-HOOing, OK?

Dr. Bob