HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
Can't believe this is happening again...
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Can't believe this is happening again...

Doc,

Two years ago almost to the day, I posted a thread when my wife had a false positive HIV test at child birth. Her WB showed an indeterminate p24 reaction and we had to have multiple tests run during the following weeks (including a Viral Load test, a p24 antigen test and finally another WB test which all came back negative.)

It was a scary situation that I thought I'd never have to go through again. Fast forward to today and my wife and I have found out she's pregnant with our second child. On her first OB appointment, the blood screening came back as HIV indeterminate with a p24 reaction on the WB. What's odd is that this came up at child birth for our first born but none of the other  previous early blood screenings during that pregnancy picked anything up. This one reacted at the first appointment.

So now we have to go see another ID specialist but I thought I'd come here again since it helped me through anxious times a couple of years ago. Here are just a few questions...

1. Is it common for a woman who had a false positive during one pregnancy to have a false positive in all her pregnancies?

2. Two years ago, she had an indeterminate reaction to p24 on the WB. Essentially, two years later, she has the exact same result (no other strands were reactive) on her new WB for the second baby. The question is, would there EVER be a scenario where she tested indeterminate for p24 two years ago and it would still be an indeterminate p24 today? I'm assuming that only after a few weeks, multiple bands would be reactive on a WB which would essentially disqualify her since these two WB's are two years apart with the same result?

Thanks so much in advance.
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Welcome back to the Forum. I am sorry that you are having to go through this.  When persons develop false positive (FP) blood tests the antibodies which account for the problem sometimes go away over time and other times remain present, sometimes forever.  In reading your prior interactions with Dr. Handsfield, it is not clear to me whether your wife's FP test ever went away or whether this is simply persistence of the prior positive tests.  Either way, because pregnancy is a time when a women's immune system gets "turned on", even transient false positive tests may re-appear.  Unless there has been a concerning exposure of some sort, this repeat false positive should not concern you as representing possible infection but, instead, should be considered a continuation of the problem you encountered previously.  

1. Is it common for a woman who had a false positive during one pregnancy to have a false positive in all her pregnancies?

See above, this is not uncommon and I would have been surprised if this most recent test were not positive.

2. Two years ago, she had an indeterminate reaction to p24 on the WB. Essentially, two years later, she has the exact same result (no other strands were reactive) on her new WB for the second baby. The question is, would there EVER be a scenario where she tested indeterminate for p24 two years ago and it would still be an indeterminate p24 today? I'm assuming that only after a few weeks, multiple bands would be reactive on a WB which would essentially disqualify her since these two WB's are two years apart with the same result?

Your question is a bit difficult to follow but in essence, if she HAD HIV, it is inconceivable both that all of her other tests would have been negative or that this is a manifestation of smoldering HIV infection.

Please don't let this make you crazy.  She has a FP WB and that is likely to be the case going forward.  I hope this explanation is helpful. EWH
3 Comments
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Doc - That helps. Thanks for the quick feedback. Hopefully, other women who test positive during pregnancy sees what we've gone through.
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I'm glad I could help.  I hope you and your wife enjoy the pregnancy and all goes well for you.  EWH
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