Misdiagnosed HIV infection in pregnant women: Implications for clinical care

A. R. Sheon, H. E. Fox, G. Alexander, A. Buck, A. Higgins, S. M. McDermott, G. Moroso, J. Moye, E. Pacheco-Acosta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Out of nearly 900 women in a research study of human immunodeficiency virus infection in pregnancy, 8 were subsequently found not to be infected. Misdiagnoses could have resulted from (a) laboratory errors or specimen mixups; (b) failure to follow the testing algorithm recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm results; (c) women perceiving they were infected by high-risk behavior in the absence of testing, despite the receipt of negative test results, or based on screening results only; or (d) factitious disorder, HIV Munchausen syndrome, or malingering. Because of the potentially devastating impact of an HIV diagnosis and the toxicity of HIV therapies, health care providers should obtain independent confirmation of the diagnosis before initiating treatment or followup for HIV based on patient report or provider referral. Quality test interpretation and counseling must be ensured. Therapeutic interventions may be indicated for persons intentionally and falsely presenting themselves as HIV-infected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-699
Number of pages6
JournalPublic health reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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