Here's a list of factors that just might skew the results of an HIV test. So if you test positive, you might not want to rush out and order a coffin and burial plot, just yet.
I've highlighted a few of the factors below that seem problematic to me because they just might affect a lot of people not in the risk groups associated with AIDS deaths. For Example: seventy-to-ninety percent of the (adult?) population has Herpes simplex I and twenty percent of sexually active adults have Herpes simplex II.
If you have the Flu or have had a Flu vaccination or a Hepatitis B vaccination you might ring the bell. There are 1.4 million persons in the United States with chronic Hepatitis B and another 4 million with chronic Hepatitis C. Those people might just get the HIV false positive sucker punch.
How about that tetanus shot? I've had a lot of those over the years. I've never had malaria, but a lot of the tropical swampy areas of the planet struggle with it.
Alcoholics, mothers who have had more than two children, haemophiliacs, and people who get blood transfusions are also likely candidates for a false positive.
You'll note that other retroviruses can be falsely accused of being the dreaded HIV. Maybe they look a lot alike in a police line-up.
There are very few of them out there, in the U.S.A, but how would it feel to be a leper or consumptive and then get the news that you're going to die of AIDS on top of that. Major bummer.
And the last one on the list should have many of the "light-hearted and carefree" crowd scratching their heads: Receptive Anal sex. Being ridden bareback, even if you have never come in contact with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and none of the other factors on the list apply... well it could still cause you to flunk out of HIV 101.
So if you have taken the test and been given the "bad news", be of good cheer. Your future may not be as bleak as you've been led to believe. You may yet live a long healthy life, as long as your well-meaning M.D. doesn't bulldog you into taking any of those toxic drugs.
Factors Known to Cause False-Positive HIV Antibody Test Results
- Anti-carbohydrate antibodies
- Naturally-occurring antibodies
- Passive immunization: receipt of gamma globulin or immune globulin (as prophylaxis against infection which contains antibodies)
- Mycobacterium avium
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Renal (kidney) failure
- Hemodialysis/renal failure
- Alpha interferon therapy in hemodialysis patients
- Flu vaccination
- Herpes simplex I
- Herpes simplex II
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Recent viral infection or exposure to viral vaccines
- Pregnancy in multiparous women
- High levels of circulating immune complexes
- Hypergammaglobulinemia (high levels of antibodies)
- False positives on other tests, including RPR (rapid plasma reagent) test for syphilis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hepatitis B vaccination
- Tetanus vaccination
- Organ transplantation
- Renal transplantation
- Anti-lymphocyte antibodies
- Anti-collagen antibodies (found in gay men, haemophiliacs, Africans of both sexes and people with leprosy)
- Serum-positive for rheumatoid factor, antinuclear antibody (both found in rheumatoid arthritis and other autoantibodies)
- Autoimmune diseases: Systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, connective tissue disease, dermatomyositis
- Acute viral infections, DNA viral infections
- Malignant neoplasms (cancers)
- Alcoholic hepatitis/alcoholic liver disease
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis
- "Sticky" blood (in Africans)
- Antibodies with a high affinity for polystyrene (used in the test kits)
- Blood transfusions, multiple blood transfusions
- Multiple myeloma
- HLA antibodies (to Class I and II leukocyte antigens)
- Anti-smooth muscle antibody
- Anti-parietal cell antibody
- Anti-hepatitis A IgM (antibody)
- Anti-Hbc IgM
- Administration of human immunoglobulin preparations pooled before 1985
- Haematologic malignant disorders/lymphoma
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome9
- Q-fever with associated hepatitis
- Heat-treated specimens
- Lipemic serum (blood with high levels of fat or lipids)
- Haemolyzed serum (blood where haemoglobin is separated from the red cells)
- Globulins produced during polyclonal gammopathies (which are seen in AIDS risk groups)
- Healthy individuals as a result of poorly-understood cross-reactions
- Normal human ribonucleoproteins
- Other retroviruses
- Anti-mitochondrial antibodies
- Anti-nuclear antibodies
- Anti-microsomal antibodies
- T-cell leukocyte antigen antibodies
- Proteins on the filter paper
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Visceral leishmaniasis
- Receptive anal sex