Sunday, April 5, 2020

Pregnant People Can Have a False Positive HIV Test & Here's Why

Regular testing for HIV is part of pregnancy these days, which bumps up the chance you might get a false-positive result. Experts explain why that can happen.

What do experts have to say? Elderberries do have some health benefits. "They have antibacterial, antiviral, and cytokines-producing properties, all of which boost the immune system," says Kecia Gaither, M.D., M.P.H., double board-certified in OB-GYN and maternal-fetal medicine. "This helps fight cold and flu viruses." Elderberries also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, are high in fiber, and can even help decrease "bad" cholesterol in the body, adds Dr. Gaither, who is also the director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln in New York.

But research is limited on the safety of elderberry in pregnancy. "There is not enough sufficient data on the use of elderberry during pregnancy or lactation," says Shuhan He, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and founder of ConductScience and Maze Engineers. "One study reported gastrointestinal (GI) distress in pregnant women taking elderberry. However, recognize that everybody's body reacts differently and many people experience no side effects at all."

It may be a safer option than some over-the-counter or prescription drugs, but that still doesn't guarantee it won't have adverse effects, says holistic wellness practitioner Audrey Christie, MSN, RN, CCMA. "There haven't been any adverse events reported with elderberry extract, but it is important to use caution," says Christie.

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