One in six people who get tested for HIV have a positive test, and many of them will get a negative result, according to a new study.
But when the clinic where they got tested also tests positive, it’s possible for them to end up getting infected with the virus, according the study by researchers at The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The finding raises concerns about how much health care providers should be aware of in a world where testing is so readily available.
“There are a lot of folks who are going to have a negative test, but that’s not necessarily a good sign,” said Robert S. Schoen, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor in the department of medicine and epidemiology.
“The reality is, a lot are going into this setting, and they might have an HIV test in the future, and the results could be negative.
It could be they got the test in a place that they shouldn’t have.
It’s just a really difficult situation.”
In the study, which was published in the March issue of the journal AIDS, the researchers looked at HIV diagnoses in 10 clinics in the St. Mary’s County, Minnesota, area from 2011 to 2014.
Participants in the study were screened by two different types of tests: an HIV testing test and a biopsy of their blood.
The researchers found that at least 3% of people who tested positive for HIV were positive for antibodies to the virus.
The remaining 7% tested positive in the lab, and only 1% were negative.
Those who were positive in their own right were not only at higher risk of getting infected, but were more likely to have HIV than those who were negative, and to have been tested in a clinic that tested positive.
“There is this belief that if you’re negative, you’re good, and if you have positive, you’ve got the virus,” said study author Sarah L. Dolan, a postdoctoral fellow in epidemiology and director of the St Mary’s clinic.
“I think there is a misconception that we don’t care about people who are negative.”
The study found that the majority of people with a positive HIV test at a clinic also tested positive at a hospital.
The findings underscore that a positive result in the hospital can mean that a person is more likely than others to be exposed to people who may have a high risk of HIV infection.
“If you test positive in a hospital, you are less likely to get tested at home,” said Schoen.
In addition, the negative results are typically not confirmed until more than three months later, and can be missed because of the time it takes for the test to be run.
Dank said the study has been difficult to interpret, but the researchers have a couple of ideas for how to make it better.
For starters, she said, the clinic would have to do a better job of keeping track of all the people who had positive tests and of keeping tabs on how many people were positive at different times in their lives.
That way, if a person was positive at age 12, the test would be run at age 20, and so on.
The study also found that if the person had a negative HIV test, the information could be shared with health care workers and other health care provider to help prevent transmission.
More information: HIV tests are now more easily available to all Americans, but it takes time to test, said David L. Cohen, president of the National HIV/AIDS Education and Research Coalition.
“The sooner people can get tested, the sooner they can be treated,” he said.
The researchers said they will now conduct additional research to better understand the effect of HIV testing on HIV transmission.
For example, they plan to conduct additional studies with more participants in the region.
The St. Paul-based clinic is located at the intersection of I-94 and Highway 97 in the Minnesota city of St. Peter.