results from a blood donation
Jul 7, 2010
Dear Dr. Bob,
After a recent blood donation (I have been donating for a few years), I received a notice from the clinic that I had a reactive Elisa test and negative western blot. After 1 month, I went back to the blood clinic and was tested again. Same result: reactive Elisa and negative WB. The doctor at the clinic seemed extremely confident that I was simply the "victim" of 2 false positives. My partner was also tested at an STD clinic just after I received my first results and his results came back negative. I feel confident that my results are indeed negative but the fact that I had 2 false positives in 2 months time makes me a little nervous. After reading the archives, it seems that all the women who had the same experience as me were pregnant and their reactive Elisa tests were a result of some kind of cross reaction to the pregnancy. I however was not pregnant during either of my tests. So, my question is: is it possible that a blood donation clinic has more sensitive tests than say an STD clinic? Why do I continue to get reactive Elisa tests? Do you think I should consult another Dr or clinic? Again, after reading all the archives and from what the Drs are telling me, I do feel confident that I am negative - but the repeated reactive Elisa tests just aren't sitting too well with me. Thank you so much for your advice!
Response from Dr. Frascino
A repeatedly reactive ELISA test with a negative confirmatory Western Blot (WB) test is considered a negative HIV-screening test. There are many reasons for reactive screening ELISA tests. These would include pregnancy (or past pregnancies), which can induce non-specific cross-reacting antibodies. The WB test is more specific than the ELISA. It helps determine true-positive from false-positive ELISA tests.
Responding to your specific questions:
1. ELISA and WB tests are the same no matter where you have them performed.
2. You can read more about false-positive ELISA tests in the archives.
3. There is no need to consult another physician. You are HIV negative.
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