HIV serologically indeterminate individuals: Future HIV status and risk factors

George Mwinnyaa, Mary K. Grabowski, Ronald H. Gray, Maria Wawer, Larry W. Chang, Joseph Ssekasanvu, Joseph Kagaayi, Godfrey Kigozi, Sarah Kalibbala, Ronald M. Galiwango, Anthony Ndyanabo, David Serwadda, Thomas C. Quinn, Steven J. Reynolds, Oliver Laeyendecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Indeterminate HIV test results are common, but little is known about the evolution of indeterminate serology and its sociodemographic and behavioral correlates. We assessed future HIV serological outcomes for individuals with indeterminate results and associated factors in Rakai, Uganda. Methods 115,944 serological results, defined by two enzyme immunoassay (EIAs), among 39,440 individuals aged 15–49 years in the Rakai Community Cohort Study were assessed. Indeterminate results were defined as contradictory EIAs. Modified Poisson regression models with generalized estimating equations were used to assess prevalence ratios (PRs) of subsequent HIV serological outcomes and factors associated with HIV indeterminate results. Results The prevalence of HIV serologically indeterminate results was 4.9%. Indeterminate results were less likely among women than men (adjPR 0.76, 95% CI 0.71,0.81), in unmarried participants than married participants (adjPR 0.92, 95% CI 0.85,99), and in individuals with primary (adjPR 0.90, 95% CI 0.80,1.02), secondary (adjPR 0.83, 95% CI 0.73,0.96) and post-secondary (adjPR 0.75, 95% CI 0.60,0.94) education, relative to no education. The proportions of persons with indeterminate results progressing to HIV positive, negative or indeterminate results in subsequent visits was 5%, 71% and 24%, respectively. Conclusion HIV serologically indeterminate results were associated with gender and marital status. HIV surveillance programs should develop a protocol for reporting individuals with mixed or persistently indeterminate HIV results on multiple follow-up visits. Most indeterminate results became HIV-negative over time, but follow-up is still needed to detect positive serologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0237633
JournalPloS one
Issue number8 August
StatePublished - Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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