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Am I hiv+?
May 13, 2003

Dear Doctor, I never had sex before my marriage. I also never had any blood transfusions. I used to have blood tests occasionaly and once had a glucose drip for a minor ear operation. I got married on Jan 29 this year. I went to Dubai and a blood test showed that I am hiv positive.The blood test was done on Mar 2.But as my husband was abroad, between the date of marriage and the date of the blood test I had only spent about a week with him.Although I never saw for myself,I was told that he is negative. I had a western Blot done on April 3 and it was positive.I am an Asian and this has destroyed my marriage.I am writing to ask you if there is any other explanation or examination I can do.I used to have mouth ulcers- could contaminated food have led to the hiv? Two days before I had the blood test I was given a Chicken pox vaccine to guard against possible infection.Could this have caused the positive result? Please help me.I am suffering so much and I don't even know how it could happen to me.

Response from Dr. Wohl

Falsely positive ELISA and western blot test results are extremely rare. In cases where there is a false result it is common for one or both tests to be equivocal or indeterminate rather than fully positive.

If possible, I would have a T-cell count and an HIV viral load test (HIV RNA PCR) done as soon as possible. If the viral load detects HIV, then I would consider this absolute proof that you are HIV-infected. If it does not, then ask for a repeat HIV antibody test and write back to me.

Have you ever had an HIV test before?

The chicken pox vaccine should not have given you HIV or produced a false positive HIV test, although this is a curious vaccine to receive as an adult. Contaminated needles certainly could potentially transmit HIV and/or other infections but this is practically unheard of in developed countries, if you are in one.

Food does not transmit HIV.

I would be very interested, if I were you, in seeing your husband's HIV test results. 9 out of 10 women worldwide in a new relationship who are newly diagnosed with HIV have acquired the virus from their partners, despite the denials of the man. Before accepting any blame, demand to see his written result.

In addition, you should make certain you are receiving advice and care from a physician with experience treating those with HIV. Also, you should try to get some support form family and friends. Organizations that support women affected by HIV/AIDS may also be able to help and should be sought out. Good luck and please update us when you can - DW



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