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Am I being paranoid?
Jan 9, 2010

Dr.Frascino, I had protected sex with a female mid july where the condom ended up breaking. I can't tell you how long it was until I noticed but stopped as soon as I did. I did however test right after and it was negative. But at about 4 months I retested and my results came back elisa positive/western blot negative. I was told to retest again that day since it had been a week since my test and the results came back the same for my second test. So at this point its about 4 and 1/2 months. The day before I got my test at the 4 month mark I received my H1N1 shot. Could this have affected my results? Should I go and retest at the 6 month mark? I'm scared because I'm hoping the HIV antibodies would not have shown up at the 4 and 4 and 1/2 month mark. I am not a drug user nor have any tattoos. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

A positive ELISA and negative Western Blot (W.B.) test are considered a negative HIV-screening test. (See below.)

An H1N1 vaccine given only one day before your HIV-antibody test would not affect the results of your test. It might cause a false-positive result several weeks after administration, but not just one day. I see no reason for further HIV testing. However, if my reassurance is not sufficient for you to shake your worries, you could consider repeating your antibody test at the six-month mark. If it again shows ELISA positive and W.B. Negative (or both negative), this gives corroborating evidence that you are HIV negative. (If you had been in the process of seroconverting at four months, seroconversion would certainly be completely by six months and you would have tested positive for both ELISA and W.B.)

Dr. Bob

False Postitive (FALSE POSITIVE TESTS, SENSITIVITY VERSUS SPECIFICITY, 2010) Jan 9, 2010

I was tested a few months ago for HIV and other STDS. Everything was great except for my HIV test came back positive with the Elisa tests and my western blot was a negative. I came in a month later and retook the test and my elisa then came back negative. My GP told me that this ment it was a false positive and it can be caused by a bunch of different things being that the Elisa is a very sensitive test. My question to you is, would that assumption be correct. Since I came back a month later and retested with a negative elisa does that mean I can take a deep breath in and relieve all this anxiety? Thank you so much for what you do!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

The assumption is completely accurate and correct. You can relax Max!

Diagnostic HIV screening involves a two-part process. The first test (ELISA or rapid test) is extremely sensitive, so as not to miss any true HIV-positive cases. In fact, it's so sensitive it sometimes picks up some "false positive" cases. (These folks test positive, but are really negative, like you!) Once someone tests ELISA- (or rapid test-) positive, he needs a confirmatory test, such as a Western Blot, which is a more specific test. It can determine "true negatives" more accurately than an ELISA test. For someone to be diagnosed HIV positive, he needs both a positive ELISA (sensitive test) and confirmatory Western Blot (specific test). I know this gets confusing, but ELISA tests can determine more "true positives" and Western Blot tests can determine more "true negatives." A positive ELISA plus a negative Western Blot would technically be considered a negative HIV diagnostic screening! So go ahead and take that deep breath. All is well, including you!

Dr. Bob



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