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Malaria May Cause False-Positive HIV Seroreactivity

HIV seropsitivity should be viewed with caution in malaria patients

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A review of HIV serology tests in a hospital in Portugal suggests there may be a relatively high rate of false seropositivity in patients hospitalized with acute malaria. Treatment of malaria appears to resolve the problem, investigators announced this week at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Washington, D.C.

Candida Abreu, M.D., and others at the Hospital Sao Joao and School of Medicine in Porto reviewed the cases of 29 patients admitted with acute malaria between January 2000 and June 2005 who were also screened for HIV.

Prior to February 2002, HIV serology was conducted with the Enzygnost Anti-HIV1/2Plus and after that with Enzygnost HIV Integral. Abbott HIV-1/2g 0 EIA was used as the second ELISA test. For confirmation, clinicians used INNO-LIA HIV. If HIV enzyme assays were positive, a COBAS Amplicor HIV-1 Test was used to detect HIV RNA.

Four of the 29 patients tested positive by ELISA. None had HIV according to Abbott HIV-1/2g 0 EIA or PCR RNA testing. Of the three patients testing positive on Enzygnost HIV Integral, two became seronegative within two months of cure of P. falciparum malaria. The third patient was treated for malaria but was lost during follow-up.

The authors conclude that "the results of serologic tests in acute malaria should be interpreted with caution, especially when confirmatory tests are not positive."

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