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ELISA a bad screening test!!!!!!
Apr 20, 1999

First of all, I would like to give you my story. Three years ago I had a high risk encounter with a woman. Shortly thereafter I developed blister like long rash on the left side of my chest which was extremely painful!!! Immediately, I decided to go to see a dermatologest to have it checked out. I told him of my previous unprotected sexual encounter. He looked at me in horror and immediately drew an HIV ELISA antibody test. Previously, I had spoken to an emergency room hospital doctor and he thought it might be shingles. I told this to the dermatologest and he was not convinced. One month later I came back to see the dermatologest and he gave me the results. I was non reactive on the HIV ELISA antibody test. He looked in suprise at the results and said I was ok. Meanwhile I told him I was in a great deal of pain and then left the office. Two months later being in pain I went to another doctor and had some blood work done and a second HIV ELISA antibody test. All was normal except a high blood sugar of 151 and another negative HIV ELISA antibody test. I followed up in four weeks and my blood sugar was normal 89. I noted some heat sensation and loss of muscle mass to the doctor. He told me that I don't have HIV. After four months the extreme pain began to subside although I did still have some pain. Two years later I decide to go for another HIV ELISA antibody test with another doctor and the results were negative. Shortly thereafter I read in a magazine that the HIV Elisa antibody test was not fool-proof. I talked to the doctor about it and asked if I could go for an HIV p24 ANTEGEN test. While he thought it was unnecessary he said for my piece of mind he would do the test. He sent me a post card stating the results negative as expected. Five months later still in minor pain after a possible severe case of shingles, acheing joints, sore eyes, blood shot eyes, and post herpetic erupions on my skin and major loss of muscle tone I wanted to talk to the doctor. I told him I wanted to go for a HIV PCR viral load test. He argued with me and then I insisted on seeing the results of my previous p24 HIV ANTEGEN test. To my amazement he had done an HIV Elisa antibody instead. When I saw that I insisted on a HIV PCR viral load test, p24 HIV ANTEGEN test, and a HIV Western Blot antibody test. He told me the HIV Western Blot was an irrational test and waste of money to do it. Two months later the results were HIV PCR viral load <400 HIV. It recommended me going for Ultra Sensative HIV by PCR. The p24 HIV ANTEGEN was negative. The HIV Western Blot was indeterminate. Three months later I went for a Ultra Sensative HIV by PCR and results were 586 HIV1-RNA copies/ml. The doctor told me he had no idea what this test really means. He told me not to assume that I have HIV. I have had no sex in over three years and feeling worse by the day. I find it ironic that I have AIDS before being diagnosed by HIV. You have AIDS if had an opportunistic infection on the CDC and a laboratory low CD4 count even though you test negative on the HIV ELISA antibody test. There is some good information about the accuracy of different HIV tests at www.hivhometest.com. Is it possible that HIV is not the cause of AIDS?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

You present a very confusing story. I would be curious to know what the western blot actually showed. Second, there have been false positive plasma viral load assays in people who are not truly infected. They are usually low positives in the 500 copy range. You need another test to confirm this viral load result. In your case I would get a DNA PCR test performed on your blood cells.

MH



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