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Confused and worried about results
Dec 19, 2006

Two Western Blot tests for HIV (4 weeks apart) have come back "uninterpretable due to high nonspecific background." I am a non-drug using, heterosexual male, in a two year monogamous relationship and she has tested negative. I am not receiving any clarification from my doctor. Can you please explain?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Can I explain why you are not receiving clarification from your doctor? Well, either your doctor is not a very good doctor or, perhaps more likely, he, too, doesn't understand what's going on!

Can I explain what's going on with your "uniterpretable" Western Blots? Not specifically without additional information. First of all, are the Western Blot tests being run appropriately, i.e. they are being ordered as confirmatory tests following a repeatedly positive ELISA test? If not, your doctor is ordering the wrong test. If yes, the next question is whether the laboratory is having technical difficulties with their Western Blot test assay. A call to the laboratory might clear that up. Sending a specimen to another lab, perhaps a reference lab, might also resolve the confusion. Finally, contacting an HIV specialist to sort this out, if your doctor can't, would also be an option. One way or the other, you should be able to get a definitive answer on your confirmatory HIV test without too much hassle.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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