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in limbo...please read!
Aug 27, 2006

Doc,

Ive taken your advice and took the test. my first test was positive, i went back to get confirmation, the results wont be out for another few days. doc, i didnt get ARS, unless feeling wierd after 10 days of possible exposure could be ARS (isnt that too early?) and i have generalized lymphodenopathy. im scared beyond any fear i've ever felt. How often do false negatives come up? and do you think i should disregard this primary positive until i get the confirmatory test? PLEASE ANSWER

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I don't know what type of test you had performed; consequently, it's difficult for me to give specific advice.

If you had an enzyme immunoassay (an ELISA, for instance) and Western Blot, the frequency of false-positive tests is reported to be in the range of 0.0004% to 0.0007%.

If you only had an ELISA, you need a confirmatory Western Blot or IFA before your result could be considered positive.

Regarding false-negative results, these generally are due to testing within the window period. Other far less common causes include technical or clerical errors; rare HIV strains, such as types N or O or HIV-2; "atypical host immune response" or agammaglobulinemia. Epidemiological studies place the rate of false-negatives from 0.3% in high-prevalence populations to less than 0.001% in low-prevalence populations.

I agree you are doing the correct thing in getting confirmatory tests. Try not to be "scared beyond any fear." These evaluations can indeed be stressful, but you need to take control of your health and destiny, no matter what the future may hold. Knowing is always, always, always better than not knowing.

I'll keep fingers crossed that your preliminary tests were false-positives. Either way, I'm here if you need me. We'll get through this together, OK?

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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