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Anonymous

Question: 

I had a reactive result to my HIV 1+2 Ab + HIV p24 AA test. Then they re-ran the test (protocol) and the HIV 1 RNA (PCR/NAAT) test found "No HIV 1 RNA detected" and the interpretation was that it was not consistent with HIV infection but a follow up EDTA is required to confirm.
I am now waiting for the results of the EDTA and my anxiety is through the roof!!
What are the chances that the initial test was a false positive? Is it more likely that the first test was a false positive or that the second test was a false negative?

Answer: 

Hi,

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source for HIV/AIDS related information. I am sorry to hear that you have had a reactive result. Let me try to help you by clarifying some facts for you.

The initial reactive tests that you first had done are designed to look for antibodies and antigens in your body. Antibodies and antigens are types of proteins that formed by our body to help fight viruses and bacteria. They are formed if you are exposed to HIV but they can also be formed in you have the common cold or any kind of infection your body many have. With this said, these tests are HIV sensitive and can sometimes pick up other proteins that are in our body and mistake them for HIV related proteins. When this happens, a false negative reading is made. To ensure accurate testing and rule out a false positive, repeat HIV test using a HIV specific test is recommended. HIV specific tests are used for confirmatory testing and to make an official diagnosis of HIV. In Canada, the Western Blot is used for confirmatory testing. The RNA PCR NAAT tests can also be used for confirmatory testing.

In your case, additional testing was requested to confirm if you do have HIV. This repeat testing is also needs to be within the conclusive time period of 3 months after the last high risk exposure to ensure the most accurate results. Since your first repeat testing using the PCR NAAT test was negative, I would take this as a good indicator of your status. However, it is wonderful that you are getting another test done to ensure your status.

AIDS Vancouver recommends that all sexually active people be tested on a regular basis for all STI's, including HIV. To know more about HIV testing, please refer to the link provided.

While you wait for the results, I hope you can find the opportunity to take care of yourself and keep your stress levels manageable. I hope I have answered your questions today. Please feel free to contact us if you have any more questions or click on the links above for more information.

Best wishes,

Mary

AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline
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