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Indeterminate result
Apr 25, 2004

Dear Dr. Bob, I recently had a HIV 1 test, and it came back as indeterminate. The results read "Viral bands observed, weakly reactive p31, HIV-1 Western Blot - indeterminate." I have been with the same person for the last 3 years, and we have both tested negative in the past. We do not engage in risky behavior (we don't do drugs, and we are monogamous). I don't feel sick and don't have any symptoms. However, I am very scared because of the result. What is the possibility that caused this result, and does the result mean that I may be HIV positive? What are my chances? Do I have any reason to worry? Thanks.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Why did you have a Western Blot test done? Western Blots have a 2% false-positive rate. They must always be coupled with an ELISA test. "Indeterminate" Western Blot (WB) results can occur in 4% to 20% of assays. There are a variety of reasons why this occurs. Indeterminate results mean the test pattern does not meet the criteria for a positive result.

You have no identifiable risk factors for HIV. I do not believe you are HIV positive or in the process of seroconverting. (The anti-p24 is usually the first band to appear.) I do not believe you have any cause for worry. I would suggest you have an ELISA test. If negative, you can be reassured of your negative status. You should only repeat the WB if your ELISA is positive, which is highly unlikely.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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