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Reactive ELISA with non-reactive Western Blot.
Jul 8, 2007

Only 485 days of Dubya, my fingers are crossed. Anyways...I got ill and had just about every symptom associated with ARS down to the drenching sweats (I had to take a shower and change my sheets) and rash all over my trunk. Since then I've had a sore throat that won't go away and find myself sweating much more often and heavily at night. It's been about a year and I have had the persistent sore throat, which began during the illness. I've tested over the span of 6 months at different facilities, all with reactive ELISA and neg Western Blot. Is HIV not a concerm. What would you guess is causing the sore throat. The doctors I saw could not determine a cause.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

A reactive ELISA and negative Western Blot is considered a negative HIV test. That you have had the same result at multiple test sites over a period of six months further corroborates your negative HIV status. (If you had been in the process of seroconverting, your Western Blot would have become positive by now.) There are a variety of potential reasons for a persistently positive ELISA in an HIV-negative person, including cross-reacting antibodies. You can read about these in the archives. The only reason to consider additional HIV work-up and testing is if there were extenuating circumstances for instance, unsafe sex with someone from West Africa or possible concurrent infection with hepatitis C. In that case screening for HIV-2, hepatitis C and obtaining a DNA PCR to help clarify a disputed or indeterminate serological test could be considered. Your physician, or an HIV specialist, can help decide if these additional tests are warranted.

I can't diagnose your symptoms over the Internet. Some of the most common causes of a persistent sore throat include postnasal drip, chronic sinusitis, allergy and chronic tonsillitis. An ENT physician should be able to sort this out for you, if your general medical doctor cannot.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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