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tested positive on the ELISA
Jun 4, 2007

Hello. My husband tested positive on the ELISA test, and was told it needed to be confirmed by a " western blot". Since we found out the ELISA test results 2 days ago, our lives have been turned upside down. He is plagued by feelings of guilt for not getting tested before we were married (we just celebrated our 1 year anniversary last month). He has had only one sexual partner before me, who he knows for sure wasn't promiscuous. He has never done drugs. In short, we both believe he has had low rise of exposure, but then again you can never know. What are the chances of testing false positive on ELISA? I know we will find out within a week about the western blot, but it is going to be a slow torturous week, and i chanced upon this forum and decided I would ask an expert. Thank you for your time.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your HIV test was improperly ordered in my opinion! The standard serological HIV screening test consists of a screening EIA (enzyme immunoassay, such as an ELISA) followed immediately by a confirmatory Western Blot if the screening EIA is repeatedly reactive. To order an ELISA and not an immediate confirmatory Western Blot if the EIA is repeatedly reactive is asking for trouble and can cause a great deal of anxiety as demonstrated by your current situation. Considering your husband has an extremely (almost nonexistent) chance of being HIV positive, we can assume in all likelihood that his ELISA is indeed a false-positive. Your "torturous week" could indeed have been completely avoided if your husband's HIV screening test was appropriately ordered and performed. Please point this out to the physician or clinic that arranged for his test. While waiting for your Western Blot, take a read through the archives. You and your husband should find them both enlightening and encouraging.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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