Report of a False-Positive HIV Test Result and the Potential Use of Additional Tests in Establishing HIV Serostatus

A summary report on false positive HIV tests in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 2000. The report makes it clear that there is no reliable definition of HIV positive.

http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/160/15/2386

Report of a False-Positive HIV Test Result and the Potential Use of Additional Tests in Establishing HIV Serostatus

Arch Intern Med. 2000;160:2386-2388.

Considering the lifelong implications of a positive human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test result, physicians should be aware of the limitations of tests for HIV.

A 43-year-old man had a reactive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [HIV test] and an indeterminate result on Western blot analysis.

The results of subsequent enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot tests were interpreted as positive, and the patient was informed that he had HIV infection.

Persistently undetectable plasma HIV-1 RNA, combined with normal physical examination findings, CD4+ cell count, and CD4/CD8 ratio, prompted further testing, which revealed that the patient was not infected with HIV.

False-positive HIV test results are uncommon, but they can occur. In the appropriate clinical setting, follow-up and the use of other laboratory tests, such as determination of plasma viral load, may help identify such cases.

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN CITED BY OTHER ARTICLES

Screening for HIV: A Review of the Evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
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Ann Intern Med 2005;143:55-73.

Two “HIV-Infected” Persons Not Really Infected
Wood et al.
Arch Intern Med 2003;163:1857-1859.

Indeterminate Human Immunodeficiency Virus Western Blot Profiles in Ethiopians with Discordant Screening-Assay Results
Meles et al.
Clin. Diagn. Lab. Immunol. 2002;9:160-163.

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