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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: HIV and AIDS
Satisfied Customers: 18648
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Had HIV test said active what does that mean

Customer Question

Had HIV test said active what does that mean
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: HIV and AIDS
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

Hello from JustAnswer.

Labs typically would not label a result as active, although reactive is sometimes used.

Do you have the printed lab report? Or was this only told to you verbally?

Do you know what type of test yielded this result?

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

I had asked for some clarification and have not heard back.

If I assume that the report actually said reactive, rather than active, then it is the same as saying that the test is positive. However, the meaning of a positive test would depend upon what type of test was done. If the test was an immunoassay antibody test or a combined antigen/antibody test, then a reactive/positive test only means that a confirmatory test needs to be done. These antibody tests have a fair amount of false positives, and every positive test should have a confirmatory test done, specifically the Western Blot test. When these antibody tests are done in a female population with a low prevalence of HIV, the vast majority of positive tests are false positives.

However, if the reactive test is a Western Blot test, then that would be a true positive, and that would indicate the person is infected with HIV.

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