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Reactive Point of Care Test Result

Question: 

Hello,

I did a HIV test after I found out that my partner slept with someone unprotected 6 months ago. I tested positve for Chamidia and for the HIV it was negative but reactive so I need to get antother test over a month. I'm really scared to have it now. What are the changes that I've got HIV? I'm on a antibiotic for athlete's foot for 3 months. Can this also influence the test to be reactive? Or what can be causes to have a reactive negative outcome?
I'm sleeping now for more than a week badly because of this and am verry scared.

Answer: 

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the meaning of a reactive result from a point of care (POC) rapid HIV test.

A reactive result is considered a preliminary positive, and means that HIV antibodies were found. A second confirmatory test needs to be done using blood drawn once from the arm, to confirm the first test’s result. Taking any antibiotic will not change an HIV test result. Antibiotics treat bacteria but they do not work with viruses. HIV is a viral infection, so antibiotics will not cure them or have an effect on test results.

According to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control: "POC HIV tests licensed for use in Canada will have similar sensitivity and specificity compared to standard HIV screening tests (Sn, Sp > 99%). False positive POC HIV tests will occur (particularly in settings with low HIV prevalence). While a negative POC HIV test is considered final and no confirmatory testing is required, a positive POC HIV test is a preliminary result and confirmatory testing is required."

Recommendation: We would strongly recommend you have a confirmatory test administered by a health care professional as soon as possible. A 4th generation EIA test is considered to be 99% accurate at 6 weeks post exposure. In the meantime, please consider taking precautions to avoid the possibility of transmitting infection to others while awaiting results of confirmatory testing.

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Dyson