Former Theranos patient testifies that a blood test at Walgreens came back with false positive for HIV

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  • Erin Tompkins, who says she got a false-positive HIV antibody result after taking the Theranos test, testified Wednesday.
  • Tompkins told the jury that she was “very emotional at the time.”
  • She will return for cross-examination on Thursday.

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San Jose, Calif. — Erin Tompkins, who drew her blood from a Theranos device at a Walgreens in Arizona, said the test misdiagnosed it as having HIV antibodies, causing her to panic.

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“I was quite emotional at the time,” Tompkins told jurors Wednesday in the criminal trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes.

Tompkins, a prosecution witness and another patient who testified, said she first read about Theranos at Forbes. She later learned about a blood-testing company on Facebook from a friend who was looking for affordable health care options.

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Holmes is facing 12 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which federal prosecutors allege deceived investors and patients about his company’s blood-testing capabilities. There is a decade long plan to give. Holmes has pleaded not guilty.

Tompkins said she was convinced by Theranos’ lower prices. She told jurors that she asked her doctor to order her blood tests in May 2015. He paid for the test out of pocket because he didn’t have insurance.

“When you decided to go to Theranos for a blood test, were you relying on accurate blood test results?” John Bostic, an assistant US attorney, asked Tompkins.

“Absolutely,” said Tompkins.

“Which of them is more important to you between cost and accuracy?” Bostic asked.

“Well, I think accuracy is most important whenever you’re having a medical procedure, but the cost was pretty close,” Tompkins replied.

Tompkins’ test indicated he had “abnormal results” and pointed to HIV antibodies. Tomkins testified that he had never been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS and had never had any symptoms.

Soon after getting the results, Tompkins said he called Theranos to talk to someone in the lab. Tompkins said she reached out to a customer service representative, who told her she “couldn’t move me and that was about it.”

“Any time you talked to a scientist or medical professional in Theranos?” Bostic asked.

“No,” said Tompkins.

Three months after the test, Tompkins went to a different clinic to be re-tested for HIV. Result came negative. She was tested again for HIV in August 2021, and received another negative result.

Tompkins’ testimony continues Thursday.

Watch: Elizabeth Holmes Says She Was ‘Ultimate Decision Maker’ At Theranoso

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