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Reactive Antibody Test and Indeterminate Western Blot??
Jul 5, 2009

Hi well I have been going through a considerable amount of stress these past few months. This all began when I went in for a routine checkup back in February of this year. Anyways the Dr. asked if I had ever screened for STD's and I replied no... Soo a week after I got a call stating that my HIV Antibody was reactive and the that Western Blot Test was Indeterminate? I have repeated the test multiple times always yielding the same results. The Western Blot is always indeterminate and the same bands always show up. The weird thing about this whole situation is that the last time I was sexually active was almost 2 years ago. I do not do drugs and would not consider myself at high risk for HIV.

About a month ago I felt a bit sick and went to the Doctors office I had swollen lymph nodes and a bit of headache. I told the Doctor my situation and he decided to a PCR RNA test. The test came back normal or negative for HIV. Anyways my regular doctor told me that I should continue screening up until one year. I guess the question is am I safe should I be freaking out? I have noticed odd things within my body that I haven't typically felt like itchy scalp and a sort of gripping feeling around the throat area... Anyways I would appreciate some insight on this case as you can see I have been highly stressed out about this whole situation. If I don't have HIV than what could be causing these indeterminate tests?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

There are a number of potential causes for indeterminate results, including cross-reacting non-specific antibodies. You can read more about the causes of indeterminate test results in the archives of this forum. The most important factor in evaluating indeterminate results is risk assessment. If you are at low (or in your case essentially no) risk, chances of being HIV infected are negligible, despite the indeterminate results. In your specific case your negative HIV status has been confirmed by your undetectable HIV plasma viral load PCR RNA test. Also, if you were in the process of seroconverting, which can be another cause of indeterminate results, subsequent Western Blot tests would be positive.

The bottom line is that you have no HIV risk and the sum of your HIV tests confirms your HIV-negative status, despite the persistent indeterminate Western Blot tests. No additional HIV testing is warranted.

Dr. Bob



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