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rapid test negative and lab test positive, how come ?
Jan 30, 2010

I live in Hong Kong,I did an HIV test, first they made a rapid test (taking blood from my finger) and the result after 20 minutes comes out NEGATIVE. In same time they take sample of my blood to do other lab test (I think the classic ELISA or Western blot) and one week after the result comes out Positive from this lab test! Why did they do another test if the rapid test showed NEGATIVE result ? Now, which result is true ? Am I HIV positive or Negative ? Thank you for your answer, I am so confused with these contradiction results.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Unfortunately I cannot explain the logic (or lack thereof) of your recent testing in Hong Kong! Certainly if you had a negative rapid test three months or longer from your last potential HIV exposure, I would consider it to be conclusively negative (barring extenuating circumstances), and no further HIV tests would be warranted.

One likely potential scenario for your recent testing experience is that you had a negative rapid test and they also drew a Western Blot (WB) test at the same time. The Western Blot test should only have been done if your preliminary rapid test was positive. It was not. The WB may have been run nonetheless unfortunately producing a false positive result. Western Blot tests are very specific assays and that is why they should only used as a confirmatory test! Call the doctor or lab that ran your test. If it was indeed a WB, I'd say relax Max! You are HIV negative! If, on the other hand, your blood test was an ELISA and was positive, you'll need to repeat the ELISA and, if positive, a WB as your next step. Write back and let us know what the outcome.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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