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Poitive EIA test, negative rapid screening
May 9, 2009

Hi there, I had to do a routine HIV test for a VISA immigration procedure. The initial EIA test was positive. The lab followed that up with a rapid screening, which came out negative. Now, the blood has been sent for further testing (I assume for a Western blot), which may take up to four weeks. Obviously a long waiting time and I'm quite worried now. I've heard of false-positive results due to pregnancy or flue shots, but I've had neither of those. I'm 22 and have not been promiscuous. How likely is it that this test was false positive?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

False-positive EIA results do occur. I can't give an exact statistical incidence, because it varies somewhat depending on the exact type of test you had performed. That you had a subsequent negative rapid test is very encouraging and would suggest your initial EIA may well have been falsely positive. All you can do now is wait for the follow-up test results. I don't know why they are making you wait four weeks, as Western Blot tests can be performed within a matter of several days. Also, I should point out if you've had essentially no HIV risks, you have no reason to fear being HIV positive!

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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