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New country to your list: Elisa test question
Feb 23, 2007

Doctor,

I am writing from BoliviaI guess this is the first time you get a question from here.

My question is the following. I recently had intercourse with a sex worker and the condom slipped. I dont know exactly when and I would not know whether there was any contact between her vagina and my penis.

At exactly the six-week mark I went for an Elisa test. As I have been living in complete misery and distress, the lab personnel suggested me to take an Elisa antigen/antibody test. The tests came out negative ( COV was 0.265 and my test results were 0.142).

I do not know anything else about the test. The results only say Elisa (HIV) antigen/antibody. I do not know if the test was third or fourth generation. The lab technicians told me that this test was conclusive at six weeks and that I need not to worry anymore at all. I wonder if they did that just ouit of pitty after taking a look at my anguish.

As I frequently read in this forum that the window period is 12 weeks, is it true that this test (antigen/antibody) could mean conclusively that I have not contracted HIV?

As you can imagine this situation is extremely stressful for me. I have been having persistent strange sensations on my palate (left side only) and today I just found an area in my palates right side that has a white spot and a red area encircling it. The white spot is iny. All these only happening in my palate, not in the throat. Could these mean anything?

I would be most grateful if you could spare sometime and answer my questions. In many ways I feel that life has stopped for me during the last weeks.

Thanks in advance for your reply, this site really marks a difference for anguished people like me and the fact that I am writing from this far away shows the global reach of your services,

Kind regards,

Carlos

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Carlos,

Your six-week negative "ELISA antigen/antibody" test is extremely encouraging. The vast majority of HIV-positive folks will indeed have detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies and/or p24 antigen in their blood by six weeks post-exposure. Some guidelines are now suggesting this test is sufficient for routine low-risk exposures. However, most testing guidelines continue to use the three-month standard. I would advise you repeat your ELISA test at the three-month mark for a definitive and conclusive result.

Your symptoms are not suggestive of or worrisome for HIV ARS (acute retroviral syndrome).

Finally, yours is certainly not the first question/comment I have received from Bolivia!!! (An example from the archives is posted below.)

Good luck. Be well and stay well, Carlos!

Dr. Bob

Congratulations from Bolivia!! Mar 7, 2005

Dear Dr. Robert,

I just want to thank you for the great work you do everyday to help anxious people like me, in my case, this site is the best thing I've ever found. I live in South America poorest country (Bolivia) where nobody has good HIV information and we only have ELISA test but not PCR. I've been in the U.S. a few years ago and I realize that coming from the US to my country is like going back a hundred years in time, but there must be something good in living in a so back-in-time country like this. Anyway, last year I got into the medical school and now I am in second year of medicine and also would like to specialize in something related to HIV; I hope to follow some of your steps one day, you're my hero!

Keep on that way and please continue doing this wonderful job you're doing.

Best Regards, Miguel from La Paz, Bolivia.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Miguel from La Paz,

Congratulations on getting into medical school! It's a privilege afforded to few and an opportunity of unlimited scope. Should you ultimately decide to follow in my steps to confront the HIV/AIDS pandemic, I would be honored.

Stay well, Miguel.

Dr. Bob



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