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SCARED AND CONFUSED
Nov 24, 2010

Hello, approx 10 weeks ago Aug 28th I had unprotected sex. I waited until sept 29th and was tested via 20 min rapid test which resulted in negative results. Again on Nov 11 I received another rapid test which was negative. On November 15th I was scheduled to have labs drawn for my physical. I received the results yesterday stating my elsa was positive but my WB was indeterminate. I was told by my doctor to get another test done which takes 7-10 days to return. Upon hearing this news I went to a clinic again and received another 20 min rapid test, again it was negative. Im scared because I don't know whats more likely to be right the quick test or my doctors lab work. This has happened to me 5 years ago where my test came back indeterminate due to a protein band in my body. Please give me your opinion. I have yet to leave my room and all I do is cry all day.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

The chances are quite good that if you had an indeterminate HIV-screening test five years ago that eventually proved to be negative, you will continue having indeterminate HIV-antibody tests going forward. This is most likely due to a nonspecific cross-reacting protein in your blood. (This can result from past pregnancies and other conditions.) That you tested HIV-antibody negative on a rapid test after getting your indeterminate result is extremely encouraging and strongly indicates you are HIV negative.

If your repeat ELISA and WB are once again indeterminate when you retest next week, I would advise you get a qualitative HIV PCR DNA test. This test does not rely on anti-HIV antibodies, but rather assays for a piece of HIV's genetic material. It can be helpful in sorting out confusing or indeterminate HIV-antibody test results.

One final point: Why are you continuing to put yourself at risk for STDs, including HIV? If you stop doing so, you'll never have to endure this type of anxiety and confusion in the future.

Dr. Bob



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