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Western Blot 'Indeterminate', ELISA 'Negative' (ELISA NEGATIVE, WESTERN BLOT INDETERMINATE)
Feb 9, 2008

Hi, I'm a male late 30s. I know you've touched on this issue before, but I was hoping to get more specifics on my somewhat unique quandry.

My girlfiend insisted that I do a Western Blot _after_ my ELISA test. The ELISA for HIV 1/2 came back 'Negative' - but my WB returned as:

UNINTERPRETABLE RESULTS

The specimen exhibits non-specific binding w/ the nitrocellulose strip used in the HIV-1 Antibody WB assay. The result is uninterpretable. Suggest repeating HIV-1/2 EIA assay on a second specimen"

This was before I came across all the research (esp your site) proclaiming the WB as 'confirmatory test' only.

The thing that is freaking me out a little is that factors cited that lead to "indeterminate" result - none of them apply to me.

So why was my WB 'Uninterpretable?'

Today I had the RNA PCR test performed (at potentially great $$ to me) because I want to be 100% sure I'm negative, and I _do not_ want to keep taking the WB over and over again just to find out I'm a "stable-indeterminate" - which wouldn't reassure me about _anything_. Results should arrive in a week.

BTW, my window period has been at least 3 months (we're talking Octoberm, and all I did was dryhump w/ a different female of unkown status in our underoos. Last penetrative sexual encounter was mid summer '07, again someone else of unknown status (unknown being she didn't have a medical report to back up her claim of being neg).

So while I wait for the PCR results, what can you tell me about the WB that doesn't apply to pregant women, people who are seroconverting (hoping! that's not the case), suffering some other illness, etc etc)

I promise I will tell any and ALL to get the ELISA _ONLY_. And then only if it comes back twice-positive do you get the WB, not the other way.

Just need some ammo.

Thank you Dr. Bob - you are a wonderful resourse.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

How can I explain specifics on the results of a test that should never have been ordered? Your ELISA HIV-1/2 is negative, so you are HIV negative. Period. End of story.

"Uninterpretable results" are exactly that "uninterpretable."

There are many technical reasons for indeterminate Western Blots (WBs) other than the ones you mention. I see no reason to go into technical details about this, because they don't apply to your situation. You are HIV negative, not "indeterminate." To have an "indeterminate" HIV test result you would need a repeatedly positive ELISA followed by an indeterminate WB.

HIV is not your problem. No way. No how.

Dr. Bob



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