HEALTH CENTRE: When HIV Positive Patients Test Negative

HEALTH CENTRE: When HIV Positive Patients Test Negative

So PP sent me the screenshot below a few weeks back and I haven’t been able to respond to it until now.IMG-20160405-WA003

The summary of the matter here is that the normal HIV testing kits we have on ground now may not be able to detect HIV antibodies in patients who are currently on certain medications/herbs. These medications include the normal antiretroviral drugs we have to battle the disease.

Now the question most of you is asking is: “Is this possible?” Well, based on my personal experience (remember the patient with multiple negative HIV tests but positive p24 antigen and DNA PCR. I think I mentioned her case in the comment section or main body of my previous entry), I have to agree. Some doctors have done research on children and adolescents and found this to be possible also.

Apparently in some patients with long term superb viral suppression, there can be a gradual to total loss of antibodies which are specific for HIV. Thus the regular HIV antibody testing would keep reading negative.

NOTE: There have also been reports of patients with frank AIDS who repeatedly test negative for HIV until they get p24 antigen and viral load testing is done. One of the hypotheses is that the immune system of these unfortunate patients had been destroyed to the extent the production of antibodies against HIV was shut down. In both cases, they are still conducting researches to learn more about these phenomena.

So like Ikenna Blessing says, viral load testing is the way to go these days. BUT as it is at the moment, the test costs like $80 – $100 and not everyone can afford that, thus antibody tests are here to stay for now until viral load testing is made cheaper and readily available in most healthcare centers.

A positive angle to Ms. Blessing’s worry is that for such patients who persistently test negative, chances of them infecting their partners are far lower than in those with undetectable viral load but detectable antibodies. This is assuming that they are currently on antiretroviral therapy with undetectable viral load.

Feel free as always to sound off in the comment section

Written by Francis

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33 Comments

  1. Michaels
    April 19, 08:18 Reply

    Guess I’d do this test again and stop my Arv lol.. pls, is there anything one can do to reduce the effect of this antiviral drug?

    • Terra
      April 19, 09:29 Reply

      A lot of the side effects fade with time and regular use. But one thing you can do is take some drugs for symptomatic treatment of the side effects. But please ensure that you mention any side effects to your doctor and pharmacist at your next appointment.

      • Michaels
        April 19, 09:56 Reply

        And it takes more than one year to fade?

        • Terra
          April 19, 10:28 Reply

          That’s why I said, tell your doctor and your pharmacist. If your drugs are causing you a lot of discomfort, there’s a greater chance of you not taking them. Nobody wants that. If you tell them you’ve been suffering serious side effects for a year, they’ll very likely find better alternatives for you.

            • Francis
              April 19, 16:11 Reply

              While discussing alternatives with your doctor make sure they don’t place you on a medication that has erratic supply. Nigeria is having serious issues with any regimen that contains single Nevirapine.

              • Michaels
                April 19, 17:02 Reply

                I ain’t trying on changing the the drug… just want something that’d reduce the symptoms.

    • Wayfaring Stranger
      April 19, 13:49 Reply

      What are some of the side effects of the drugs? I was speaking to some guy sometime ago who told me that he headed an HIV support group and that he sometimes took these drugs, even though he was negative, so he could empathize with the guys in the group.

      Where can one get the drug casually and is there any long term health risk for taking the drug when negative?

      • Francis
        April 19, 16:15 Reply

        Why in the world would you want to experiment with HIV drugs if you’re negative and not dating someone who is HIV +ve?

      • Keredim
        April 19, 16:30 Reply

        That’s some really messed up shit.?

        • Colossus
          April 19, 16:57 Reply

          That truly is fucked up. One can empathise without having to take the drugs.

          • Wayfaring Stranger
            April 19, 19:52 Reply

            I didn’t discuss extensively with the guy about the times he took the drug, but I’m sure it wasn’t that often. He said he wanted to be able to feel the effect of the drug so they could all discuss it amongst themselves without him having to feel like a phony.

            But really, how bad are the side effects if taken just once or twice?

            • Francis
              April 19, 21:50 Reply

              Side effects kick in at various times for different individuals. Some na within 24hrs and others could take a month or two sef before the side effects set in.

  2. Dimkpa
    April 19, 08:23 Reply

    The post from Blessing Ike seems to suggest that an increase in immunity from medication can make someone’s antibodies which are part of the immune system disappear. A boost in immunity should include an increase in antibodies. As far as I know antibodies don’t loose affinity for their antigen and remain in the body once formed to help prevent any attacks from future similar antigens.
    From a quick research online most indeterminate results will usually be confirmed one way or another 3 months later or with a different kit.
    I did find information on a HIV 0 which may not be detected by the usual tests for HIV I and II. This strain is common in Gabon and Cameroon and is being added to some tests.
    There are also technical errors that occur with these tests which may lead to false results.
    I guess what I am trying to put across is that Antibody tests are still pretty reliable, barring the already known problems in the window period, just to avoid unnecessary anxiety and panic posts like that of Blessing Ike can cause.

    • Francis
      April 19, 16:32 Reply

      I guess what I am trying to put across is that Antibody tests are still pretty reliable, barring the already known problems in the window period, just to avoid unnecessary anxiety and panic posts like that of Blessing Ike can cause.

      I wouldn’t say it is unnecessary anxiety. Loads of peeps keep claiming to have the cure for HIV and we can’t really say how these “cure” actually work in the body. Do they have a mechanism of shutting down antibody production that has yet to be discovered? Well…..

      If there’s one thing I’ll always remember my Physiology teacher, she made sure we her students never believed the textbooks completely as 1 + 1 is never always 2 in Medicine. Research, research and more research needs to be done.

      There will always be peculiarities that need to be investigated thoroughly to find out what is actually going on and if these peculiarities are actually a lot more common than we think they are.

      HIV 0 aside, if the immune system of a positive patient has completely shut down, where do you want see the antibodies?

      • Dimkpa
        April 20, 03:35 Reply

        Am I to understand from your statement that you actually believe the claims of those that say they have cured HIV so much so that you use it to support your position?
        It seems to me that going by your idea of ‘common peculiarities’, you are of the opinion that HIV antibody testing is now not a good test and judging by some comments here, it has indeed caused some confusion.
        It would be good if you could let us know where the research and reports on these peculiarities you mention were published so we can verify them.
        You also talk about people with an immune system that has completely shut down. I imagine you mean those with low CD4 counts. Would they not be suffering from AIDS at that point? Are we to believe that such individuals would test negative on antibody tests?
        Blessing Ike learnt this new medicine in Church and you support it based on ‘personal experience.’ Neither of them are good sources of scientific evidence, more so given the radical nature of this new idea.

        • Francis
          April 20, 04:20 Reply

          Nna men, you’re really jumping into the wrong conclusions. Summary of what I’m trying to say up there is that we should keep an open mind and conduct more research into this. When in doubt, na to to run ogbonge tests to clear such doubts completely or partially. That’s the protocol.

          You also talk about people with an immune system that has completely shut down. I imagine you mean those with low CD4 counts. Would they not be suffering from AIDS at that point? Are we to believe that such individuals would test negative on antibody tests?

          I didn’t say AIDS = Negative HIV tests. Neither did I say low CD4 counts = Negative HIV tests. You can have AIDS and still have a high CD4 count. The main worry here is are these CD4 cells healthy or not as we have quantitative and qualitative CD4 count testing and the quantitative one is what we generally run.

          I’m not forming a conclusion or supporting Blessing based on personal experience. My personal experience is just helping me to keep an open mind like I was thought to do.

          Here are some of the links you asked for:

          http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(15)00087-0/fulltext?rss=yes

          http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/751067

          To clear the air for anyone whom I might have put in a state of utter confusion (I’m sorry), HIV antibody tests are still VALID and they work BUT like most lab tests out there, there will always be false-positives and false-negatives.

  3. Dickson Clement
    April 19, 08:45 Reply

    Dimkpa! Well said. I cannot but remind us that there are memory T-cells and B-cells, these antibodies serve as body reminders! Circulating antibodies can be low if exposure to their antigen is halted! As long as there is a single HIV Protein coat, the antibodies will always be in circulation! Every test kit has its specificity and sensitivity! If a positive patient tests negative, it shows there is a decline in the sensitivity of the test!

    • Francis
      April 19, 16:21 Reply

      If a positive patient tests negative, it shows there is a decline in the sensitivity of the test!

      If there are no antibodies for the test to detect nko? The test kit’s sensivitivy is questionable?

  4. Mandy
    April 19, 10:51 Reply

    I dunno what is wrong with me today, but I’ve read and reread both post and comments, and I’m still not getting what the main thrust (no pun intended) is about

  5. Mandy
    April 19, 10:52 Reply

    What’s this Blessing woman’s concern really? And Francis, what answers are you giving? #FeelingLikeABimboToday

    • Francis
      April 19, 16:44 Reply

      ?? We all have those days.

      Her main worry is that e get medicine wey person fit take to hide the fact say him get HIV from showing on these regular HIV tests wey we dey do every time.

      Does that help?

  6. Delle
    April 19, 14:42 Reply

    Hian! Oh church! This is so discouraging…so I’m to get tested again or what?

    • Francis
      April 19, 16:52 Reply

      Just go off dick and anything that involves exchange of bodily fluids for 6 months then run ya test in two separate locales. That should fix ya paranoia. Lol

      • Delle
        April 19, 20:14 Reply

        Haha Francis. I just got recently tested and it was negative and it’s not like I’m one dick whore (pulls back a loose stray hair)…this one u peepo are now saying…hian!

  7. Francis
    April 19, 16:50 Reply

    There are things in Medicine that baffles one. Two patients can walk in with CD4 of 10 cells/ul. One is about to die and has frank AIDS already. The second one is like warreva. Nothing dey happen. I’m fit as a fiddle and his physical examination and lab work will collaborate it.

      • Francis
        April 19, 17:16 Reply

        Cos it’s clinically evident and unmistakable

  8. Uziel
    April 20, 06:55 Reply

    While this is bad news, it could be good news for people seeking employment at a company that might not hire a positive person… Shrug.

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