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Author Topic: Rapid test false positive. Then serological negative. AM I OK??  (Read 464 times)

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Offline worried_gal

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Rapid test false positive. Then serological negative. AM I OK??
« on: November 11, 2021, 02:05:09 pm »
Female, 30 years old. 58 kg, 158 cm. No underlying conditions, except for some allergies from time to time. Got my second COVID vaccine on September 23 (it might be relevant because of the antibodies?)
-----
Two years ago I had unprotected sex for a couple of months with a man. He never ejaculated inside me. This is the only time when I could have contracted HIV. After that I didn't have sex at all and I didn't indulge into any kind of risky behavior.

During these months, I once had tonsillitis and I felt really bad for 7 days (fever, sore throat, headache, muscle and bone aches, even cankers in mouth). Got better on the 8th day.

A couple of days ago it came to my mind that I might have had an acute HIV infection.

So, I got tested today with a rapid test. The medical technician told me that they got a very thin and not straight line, so they cannot ignore it, but they cannot be sure either, so they wrote I was positive, however, they told me it happens very often that it is false and that I need to do serologist test. So I did, and the results are: 0.10.

1 and everything above 1 is considered positive. This is 0.10, so I am negative.

My question is: Is this 100% sure? If yes, then why did I have this first test with that shaky thin line? What does this number 0.10 mean? Why is it not straight 0?

If there have been two years since my potential exposure, it means that the HIV window is also valid for results?

So, I don't have HIV, right?

I feel like I went through hell today and got back to life. I am relieved but still scared. Please, ease my mind...  :-[

Offline Jim Allen

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Re: Rapid test false positive. Then serological negative. AM I OK??
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2021, 02:25:50 pm »
Hiya,

Quote
why did I have this first test with that shaky thin line?

False reactive results on screening tests happen, we see it often enough and that's not a surprise. The screening tests are designed to be very sensitive but they are less specific, so cross-reaction to other antibodies etc can happen.

The screening tests are handy to rule out an HIV infection after the window period, but any reactive result is not a diagnosis and simply means further testing is needed to exclude an HIV infection.

You had the follow-up test and the result is conclusively negative.

Quote
What does this number 0.10 mean? Why is it not straight 0?

It's the signal value ( signal-to-cutoff ratio), long story short, its background noise for lack of a better phrase. If you took 10 tests back to back this would be slightly different on each one and it would never be 0.00. The cut-off point on the lab test used has is a value of 1, as you mentioned, which means anything below that cut-off point is a negative result.

Quote
If there have been two years since my potential exposure, it means that the HIV window is also valid for results?

Yes. The window period is the first 3 months, it can be slightly shorter depending on the test. Testing within that period may produce a false negative, however, you have correctly tested after the window period.

Quote
So, I don't have HIV, right?

Your results are conclusively negative unless you had a more recent exposure such as sex or sharing drug rigs within the last 3 months that you have not mentioned here.

Relax.

Here's what you need to know to avoid HIV infection:
Use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, every time, no exceptions. Consider talking to your healthcare provider about PrEP as an additional layer of HIV protection

Keep in mind that some sexual practices described as ‘safe’ in terms of HIV might still pose a risk for transmission of other STI's, so please do get tested regularly and at least yearly for STI's including but not limited to HIV and test more frequently if unprotected intercourse occurs

Also, note that it is possible to have an STI and show no signs or symptoms and, the only way of knowing is by testing.

Kind regards

Jim

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« Last Edit: November 11, 2021, 02:33:05 pm by Jim Allen »
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Offline Jim Allen

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Re: Rapid test false positive. Then serological negative. AM I OK??
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2021, 02:29:29 pm »
I am curious, did a nurse/doctor at the healthcare providers office not explain this to you when going over the initial reactive results and the final test results?
« Last Edit: November 11, 2021, 02:31:36 pm by Jim Allen »
HIV 101 - Everything you need to know
HIV 101
Read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
Read about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
HIV TasP
You can read about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
Read about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP

Offline worried_gal

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Re: Rapid test false positive. Then serological negative. AM I OK??
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2021, 03:18:57 pm »
Thank you so much!!

I know I should have used condoms but I was simply an idiot. Drunk most of the time. I didn't even think of HIV to be honest. And I am an educated person, not some redneck. I guess we ought to educate people much much more on this. Maybe someone will see this post and understand how important it is to always have protection.

I didn't have any other risky behavior. In the last three months as well. Didn't do drugs, didn't have sex...

The nurse told me that it is possible that the test result is false positive, but they can't be sure. They said: "We saw this one very thin shaky line that we mustn't ignore, so we wrote 'positive' on your test. We recommend you do the serological test and then you will be sure 100%."

They never asked me how much time has passed. And this serological test I received via email. I only read this number 0.1 and there was no other explanation except that 1 and above 1 means positive.

I think my country is really unprofessional when it comes to these things.

Although this nurse said that with serological test I will be '100%' sure, I think I went through hell today and I still can't believe I am negative. Of course, I don't mean to say anything bad about people who have HIV. With meds, I know it is treatable. But, HIV is so stigmatized in the world, and my country is a small and undeveloped country where even medical staff was looking weird at me when I told them I want to test for HIV. Also, my parents are old and conservative, yet I love them so much and I could never tell them if I am positive. So I would have to live with this one stupid mistake I made and pretend everything is OK for the rest of my life. This is why I was terrified. When I received this negative serological test I was crying like a baby, bawling my eyes out - this is the amount of stress that was in me this whole day until I got back the results.

I still can't believe that the screening test said positive. I googled and found that only a small percentage of people get false positive? Or is this actually wrong?

Thank you once again, you did calm me a little bit.

Offline Jim Allen

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Re: Rapid test false positive. Then serological negative. AM I OK??
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2021, 03:41:14 pm »
Hiya,

You're welcome and it's understandable that the false reactive had caused some stress.

Quote
The nurse told me that it is possible that the test result is false positive, but they can't be sure. They said: "We saw this one very thin shaky line that we mustn't ignore, so we wrote 'positive' on your test. We recommend you do the serological test and then you will be sure 100%."

They never asked me how much time has passed. And this serological test I received via email. I only read this number 0.1 and there was no other explanation except that 1 and above 1 means positive.

Sorry to hear that the follow-up with the clinic was by email only and happy I could clarify things.

Quote
I still can't believe that the screening test said positive. I googled and found that only a small percentage of people get false positive? Or is this actually wrong?

Well, yes/no and it depends on what rapid test (POC) was used, some kits have 2% false positives and others are closer to 0.4%. So for 0.4% that would be 40 in 10.000 tests and 2% would be 200. Anyhow, it happens, so naturally, we do questions about it from time to time.

End of the day, the final result was negative and it's safe to relax and move on.  :)
Try not to beat yourself up about what happened two years ago, we all make mistakes in life, that's normal.

Best, Jim.
 
HIV 101 - Everything you need to know
HIV 101
Read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
Read about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
HIV TasP
You can read about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
Read about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP

 


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