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Positive Elisa Negative WB
Jul 31, 2008

I recently had an HIV test (July 22) after having several rounds of vaccinations for school 1 month earlier. For the first time my ELISA came back positive, my WB came back negative (no bands). I have had NO unprotected sex in the last 6 months but had sex with 1 female protected and no fluids were exchanged (no kissing, etc). When the lab technician got my test results she walked me outside and told me i can be sure i have HIV and though she'd never seen this result in her 11 years the virus is simply lying dormant. Have you seen this in your experience?

-Worried

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

The lab technician told you that you "can be sure (you) have HIV"????? WHAT???? Apparently that lab technician is not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed (so to speak). A reactive (positive) ELISA with a negative Western Blot (WB) is considered to be a negative HIV test, because the WB is the more specific test. Also, HIV doesn't lie dormant! Someone needs to send that technician to an HIV refresher course.

Positive ELISAs with negative WBs are quite common. That the technician had never seen this result in her 11 years is rather surprising. Are you sure she was a real technician? She seems as clueless as Dubya faced with a word that has more than three syllables.

Take a look through the archives. We have a whole chapter devoted to HIV testing. There you will find many cases similar to yours.

Dr. Bob



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