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J Infect Dis. 1994 Jun;169(6):1356-9.

False-positive rapid plasma reagin tests in human immunodeficiency virus infection and relationship to anti-cardiolipin antibody and serum immunoglobulin levels.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas 78236-5300.


The incidence of biologic false-positive rapid plasma reagin (RPR) tests may be increased in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; however, injecting drug use has not been excluded as the cause. Review of 3371 periodic syphilis serology results from 1077 HIV-seropositive patients in the United States Air Force HIV Natural History Study between January 1986 and June 1992 revealed a cumulative biologic false-positive RPR rate of 1%. Most (6/9) were transient low-titer results associated with a recent acute infectious process. False-positive RPR tests did not appear to correlate with anticardiolipin antibody levels or serum IgG or IgA levels, which are increased in HIV infection. Although not statistically significant, there was a trend toward higher IgM levels in patients with biologic false-positive tests. Thus, the incidence of false-positive RPR in an HIV-infected population with a low risk of injecting drug use is similar to that in the general population, and the mechanism may correlate with elevated serum IgM levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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