Health Education AIDS Liaison, Toronto

Whose antibodies are they anyway?
Compiled by Christine Johnson
Continuum Magazine Vol 4 No 3

The AIDS establishment has managed to convince many people that the HIV antibody tests (ELISA, IFA and Western Blot) are "99.5% accurate". In this article, Christine Johnson, from HEAL Los Angeles, lists conditions documented in the scientific literature known to cause positives on these tests, and gives her references.

It is expected that this list will generate much discussion and dissension. For the time being, a few clarifications should be made from the outset.

Just because something is on this list doesn't mean that it will definitely, or even probably, cause a false-positive. It depends on what antibodies the individual carries; as well as the characteristics of each particular test kit.

For instance, some, but not all, people who have had blood transfusions, prior pregnancies or an organ transplant will make HLA antibodies. And some, but not all test, kits (both ELISA and Western Blot) will be contaminated with HLA antigens to which the antibodies can react. Only if these two conditions coincide might you get a false- positive due to HLA cross-reactivity.

Some things are more likely than others to cause false-positives. And some things that we aren't aware of yet, but which may be documented in the future, may cause false- positives. Some of the factors on the list have been documented only for ELISA, some for both ELISA and Western blot (WB).

Some people may be eager to argue that if a factor is only known to cause false-positive on ELISA, this probably won't be carried over to the WB, so everything should be OK. But remember, a WB is positive by virtue of accumulating enough individual positive bands to add up to the total required by whatever criteria you use to interpret it .(39) So the more exposure a person has had to foreign antigens, proteins and infectious agents, the more various antibodies he or she will have in their system, and the more likely it is that there will be several cross-reacting antibodies, enough to make the WB positive.

It is to be noted that all AIDS risk groups (and Africans as well), but not the general US or Western European population, have this problem in common: they have been exposed to a plethora of foreign antigens and proteins. This is why people in the AIDS "risk groups" tend to have positive WBs (i.e., to be considered "HIV infected") and people in the general population don't. However, even people in low-risk populations may have false-positive Western blots for poorly understood reasons. (47)

Since false-positives to every single HIV protein have been documented (36), how do you know the positive Western blot bands represent the various proteins to HIV, or just a collection of false-positive bands reacting to several different non-HIV antibodies?


FACTORS KNOWN TO CAUSE FALSE POSITIVE HIV ANTIBODY TEST RESULTS

Anti-carbohydrate antibodies 52,19,13
Naturally-occurring antibodies 5,19
Passive immunization: receipt of gamma globulin or immune globulin (as prophylaxis against infection which contains antibodies)18, 26, 60,4,22, 42, 43,13
Leprosy 2, 25
Tuberculosis 25
Mycobacterium avium 25
Systemic lupus erythematosus15, 23
Renal (kidney) failure 48, 23,13
Hemodialysis/renal failure 56,16, 41,10, 49
Alpha interferon therapy in hemodialysis patients 54
Flu 36
Flu vaccination 30,11, 3, 20,13, 43
Herpes simplex I 27
Herpes simplex II 11
Upper respiratory tract infection (cold or flu) 11
Recent viral infection or exposure to viral vaccines 11
Pregnancy in multiparous women 58, 53,13, 43, 36
Malaria 6, 12
High levels of circulating immune complexes 6, 33
Hypergammaglobulinemia (high levels of antibodies) 40, 33
False positives on other tests, including RPR (rapid plasma reagent) test for syphilis17, 48, 33,10, 49
Rheumatoid arthritis 36
Hepatitis B vaccination 28, 21, 40, 43
Tetanus vaccination 40
Organ transplantation 1, 36
Renal transplantation 35, 9, 48,13, 56
Anti-lymphocyte antibodies 56, 31
Anti-collagen antibodies (found in gay men, haemophiliacs, Africans of both sexes and people with leprosy) 31
Serum-positive for rheumatoid factor, antinuclear antibody (both found in rheumatoid arthritis and other autoantibodies) 14, 62, 53
Autoimmune diseases 44, 29, 1O, 40, 49, 43: Systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, connective tissue disease, dermatomyositis
Acute viral infections, DNA viral infections 59, 48, 43, 53, 40, 13
Malignant neoplasms (cancers) 40
Alcoholic hepatitis/alcoholic liver disease 32, 48, 40,10,13, 49, 43, 53
Primary sclerosing cholangitis 48,53
Hepatitis 54
"Sticky" blood (in Africans) 38, 34, 40
Antibodies with a high affinity for polystyrene (used in the test kits) 62, 40, 3
Blood transfusions, multiple blood transfusions 63, 36,13, 49, 43, 41
Multiple myeloma 10, 43, 53
HLA antibodies (to Class I and II leukocyte antigens) 7, 46, 63, 48,10, 13, 49, 43, 53
Anti-smooth muscle antibody 48
Anti-parietal cell antibody 48
Anti-hepatitis A IgM (antibody) 48
Anti-Hbc IgM 48
Administration of human immunoglobulin preparations pooled before1985 10
Haemophilia 10, 49
Haematologic malignant disorders/lymphoma 43, 53, 9, 48, 13
Primary biliary cirrhosis 43, 53, 13, 48
Stevens-Johnson syndrome 9, 48, 13
Q-fever with associated hepatitis61Heat-treated specimens 51, 57, 24, 49, 48
Lipemic serum (blood with high levels of fat or lipids) 49
Haemolyzed serum (blood where haemoglobin is separated from the red cells) 49
Hyperbilirubinemia 10, 13
Globulins produced during polyclonal gammopathies (which are seen in AIDS risk groups)10, 13, 48
Healthy individuals as a result of poorly-understood cross-reactions10
Normal human ribonucleoproteins 48,13
Other retroviruses 8, 55,14, 48,13
Anti-mitochondrial antibodies 48,13
Anti-nuclear antibodies 48,13, 53
Anti-microsomal antibodies 34
T-cell leukocyte antigen antibodies 48,13
Proteins on the filter paper 13
Epstein-Barr virus 37
Visceral leishmaniasis 45
Receptive anal sex 39, 64

© Sept. 1996, Zenger's, California

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