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Acquiring HIV
Feb 16, 2010

My wife had a stillbirth at 26 weeks this past summer. We were overseas at the time so proper diagnosis was not possible.

My wife needed an HIV test for a visa that came back positive. She took another test that came back negative. The clinic that did the test said the same thing happened when she was pregnant and we needed to have genetic testing to find out what the problem is once we arrived in the States.

My wife's mother indicated that her uncle has had similar misreadings on Rubella and Hepatitis A tests.

My wife is not in any risk category and comes from a country with a LOW HIV rate (Tajikistan- limited to heroin users). Her lone past sexual partner tested negative and my wife tested negative in 2007, seven months after ending her previous relationship.

We have been together since August 2008 and I am negative. She cannot think of ANY way in which she could have become HIV positive, though she has tested positive (with Western Blot confirmation).

My wife and I are both highly educated professional (I am an American consultant overseas).

Is there any explanation for this or do we have to go through life accepting her HIV positive status with no explanation?

Thanks,

BT

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello BT,

If your wife has had essentially no HIV risk exposures, then there is no way she could be HIV infected. Her intermittently positive ELISA and Western Blot tests most likely are the result of nonspecific cross-reacting antibodies that can be generated during pregnancy. If you remain concerned, or to settle the matter once and for all, get a qualitative HIV PCR DNA test. This test does not rely on anti-HIV antibodies, but rather assays for a piece of the virus's genetic material. If your wife is "undetectable" as I predict, she is not HIV infected. If, on the other hand, she has a detectable HIV PCR DNA, she should see an HIV specialist physician for additional evaluation.

Good luck to you both!

Dr. Bob



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