Yes, the study vaccines may cause you to test positive on some types of HIV tests. If a participant gets an HIV study vaccine, their body may make antibodies to HIV. Antibodies help you fight infection. Standard HIV tests search for HIV antibodies as a sign of infection. Because of this, a person could have a positive HIV test result even if they are not actually infected with HIV. This is called a vaccine-induced seropositive (VISP) test result. We do not know who will have VISP test results or how long these test results may last.
People with VISP test results need specific types of HIV tests to determine if a positive test result is due to VISP or a true infection. Clinics participating in HVTN studies have access to these specific tests that look for the virus itself instead of looking for antibodies. These tests are available to study participants without any charge, even after their study participation is complete. No health problems are associated with a VISP test result, but VISP test results may cause problems in several areas such as medical or dental care, employment, insurance, a visa for traveling, or entry into the military. You might not be allowed to donate blood or other organs. If you are planning to apply for insurance, employment, or the military, tell your study clinic right away.
The insurance company, employer, or military agency may not accept HIV test results from the HVTN. However, the HVTN can work with them to ensure the right test is done that will show your true HIV status.