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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 1998 Nov;17(11):784-7.

False-positive tests for syphilis associated with human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B virus infection among intravenous drug abusers. Valencian Study Group on HIV Epidemiology.

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Departamento de Salud Pública, Universidad Miguel Hernández, San Juan (Alicante) Spain.


The role of HIV, hepatitis C virus, and hepatitis B virus infections in the production of biological false-positive reactions for syphilis was evaluated in two large samples of intravenous drug abusers and homosexual men attending AIDS prevention centers in Spain. A significantly increased odds ratio (OR) for false-positive tests for syphilis [OR 2.23, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.76-2.83] was observed for HIV-seropositive intravenous drug abusers; biological false-positive reactions were also more frequent (OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.30-2.31) among intravenous drug abusers who were hepatitis B virus seropositive but not among those who were hepatitis C virus seropositive (OR 0.90; 95% CI 0.48-1.69). Among homosexuals, the association between HIV and biological false-positive reactions was restricted to subjects who were also intravenous drug abusers, indicating the crucial role of intravenous drug abuse. Only 20.5% of intravenous drug abusers with a previous biological false-positive reaction yielded a false-positive result in their subsequent visit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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