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Indetermined western blot
Mar 9, 2008

i took pcr dna test 27 days after unprotected sex-it came back negative.with labcorp.i decided to take another pcr dna test with another lab call quest diagn=its negative, i took antibody test 8,9,10 weeks all negative. then 11 week test came back positive and the western blot inclusive Indetermined..please help iam confuse

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Yep, you're confused all right! The confusion stems from getting the wrong kind of tests for HIV screening (PCR tests) or getting the right kinds of tests (antibody tests) but at the wrong time (prior to the 3 month mark).

First off, PCR tests are not recommended for routine HIV screening.

Next, HIV-antibody tests taken prior to the three-month mark are not considered to be definitive or conclusive.

Third, a reactive ELISA and indeterminate Western Blot is an indeterminate HIV test. There are multiple reasons for indeterminate tests. These would include taking the test during the process of seroconversion, detection of cross-reacting nonspecific antibodies, infection with the O strain of HIV-2, prior use of HIV vaccines and possible technical or clerical errors.

My advice is very simple: Follow the well established guidelines for HIV screening to avoid confusion, not to mention avoiding the unnecessary testing and waste of time, energy, blood and money!

Your next step is to repeat your ELISA (or rapid test) at the three-month mark. If that's negative, you're negative. If it's reactive (positive), it should be immediately followed by a Western Blot. If the situation is not clear at that point, write back and we'll take it from there, OK? I'd also suggest you read the information about HIV diagnostic tests in the chapter titled "HIV Testing Basics" that can be easily accessed on The Body's homepage under "Quick Links."

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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