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July 14, 1989

Positive HIV Antibody Test Results After Treatment With Hepatitis B Immune Globulin

Author Affiliations

Skokie, Ill

Skokie, Ill

JAMA. 1989;262(2):209. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430020051020

To the Editor. —  The Brief Report entitled "Passive Transfer of HIV [Human Immunodeficiency Virus] Antibody by Hepatitis B Immune Globulin"1 presents important findings that concern transient positive test results for HIV antibody. I do not understand how the authors claim to "report two cases where true-positive HIV tests were obtained in two newborns after immunization with hepatitis B immune globulin." A "true positive" refers to a positive laboratory test result that accurately reflects infection in the donor of the test specimen. Case 1, as reported, had transiently positive antibody test results. Follow-up studies on case 2 do not follow the same time sequence as in case 1, and positive viral cultures are not reported for either infant. There is nothing provided in the article on which one could conclude that these infants were infected with HIV. Therefore, by definition, these seem to be false-positive test results.