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window period
Nov 2, 2010

Hi Dr. Frascino,

I wrote to you recently regarding an indeterminant western blot test I had, which was followed by a negative elisa test two weeks later. You said that I should not be concerned because I have had no exposure to my knowledge and the elisa test confirmed my negative status. The problem is that I can't get closure on this for some reason because I keep wondering what could have caused an indeterminant blot test, considering I did not have any of the symtoms mentioned (ie: pregnant, flu shot recently, lime disease, etc.) I just keep thinking what if, what if, what if. It's driving me cazy!

I went back to get a SECOND elisa test 7 weeks after my original indeterminant blot test. The test yielded a negative result once again. I just need to hear from you there was enough time inbetween the tests that if I really had had an exposure which cause an indeterminant blot test, something would have showed up on an elisa 7 weeks later. Thank you so much for your help and and guidance in understanding how these tests work. I feel like I'm going crazy!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your two negative ELISA tests following your indeterminate Western Blot test conclusively and definitively prove you are HIV negative. (If you had been in the midst of seroconverting at the time of the indeterminate WB, you would have definitely fully seroconverted by now and hence would have a positive ELISA.) The indeterminate WB result was the fault of the test, not something wrong with you! That's why it's only used as a confirmatory test. It's such a specific test that it picks up some HIV-negative folks (false-positives) and has a fair number of indeterminate results (not positive, but not completely negative either). You can read more about this in the archives. Have a look and stop driving yourself crazy. OK?

Dr. Bob



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