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Elisa "confirmation"?

Dec 9, 2007

Good evening. My name is Nicolás, I'm a 21 year old homosexual male who lives in Argentina.

Last friday I got tested for HIV, as I usually do every 6 months, and specially to check the progress of my syphillis treatment, which I did in April, and consisted of two penicilin shots.

Everytime I got checked for HIV, which I do every 6 months since I'm 17, everything went the same way: I just went to the lab, got the test results, and they came out negative.

This time, they called me from the laboratory, saying that they needed to take another sample to "confirm" the results they had on the test. Even though I asked several times, they didn't deliver any information at all, saying that the test was not completed and that they wouldn't tell me anything until they had checked the new sample.

My question is...What is this supposed to mean? Did the test come out positive, and that's why they need to "confirm" it? Why didn't they just deliver the results to me as positive and just asked for another one? In my country, it's mandatory to have two ELISA, or EIA, as I belive it's called in the USA, done before the Western Blott test.

Any information at all would be aprecciated. I'm very, very nervous about this whole situation.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Nicolas,

Unfortunately I have no control over the policy and procedures of your laboratory, nor do I have any way of knowing why they asked you to return for another test. It could be due to a technical error or indeterminate result or to confirm a preliminary positive result. Fretting over that won't help. I would suggest you return for your retest to quickly determine what's going on.

I applaud your self-screening every six months. Obviously you understand the consequences of unsafe sex. However you did manage to contract syphilis six months ago. Consequently you have indeed placed yourself at some degree of risk for STDs. I urge you to review the safer sex guidelines and techniques.

Good luck with your retest.

Dr. Bob

Hiv transmission or paranoia

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