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HIV and AIDS

Can The Eliza Test Give A False Positive?

05/05/2005

Question:

How common is it for a person to receive a false positive on an ELISA test? I obtained a positive result from a test that my life insurance policy required me to take. I am awaiting results from another test (western blot) from my primary care physician in two weeks. The sexual encounter that may have exposed me was about 6 months ago. (a one night-stand). Other than this one night, I have been faithful to my wife who tested negative on the same exam. She too is being retested. Is it common for my wife to be negative even though we have been having sex since the encounter occured over 6 months ago? We are confused. We are both anxious to know if I am really HIV positive.

Answer:

The standard serologic test consists of an EIA and Western Blot. The EIA screening test requires a repeatedly reactive test which is the criterion for WB (Western Blot) testing. WB alone has a 2% rate of false positives.

It is possible for your wife to be negative on the same exam.

Only your test results will be able to answer your questions. 

 

 

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Response by:

Pamposh   Kaul, MD Pamposh Kaul, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati