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Where do I go from here? More testing? (INDETERMINATE WESTERN BLOT, 2011)

Apr 27, 2011

Was tested in Feb. for HIV. ELISA/EIA came back repeatedly weakly reactive (1.11). Western blot was indeterminate (p18 equivocal) I was told to retest in 4-6 weeks. Western Blot was repeated at 5 weeks and results did not change. The p18 band was still equivocal, with no additional bands reactive. It's my understanding that these results are consistent with a false positive. (My boyfriend tested negative in early February and two months later in April--at the same time as me) During a 5 month break up, I had a sexual relationship with a man (we ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS used condoms and I don't think the condom ever broke or came off) in January.

I was going to put these results behind me but I'm somewhat of a hypochondriac, so I scheduled an appointment with an infectious disease doctor after my primary care physician ordered complete blood work to see what may be the underlying problem causing the false positive--FYI all blood work was normal. Do you recommend PCR testing, a repeat Western Blot...doc, where do I go from here?

Response from Dr. Frascino


Your HIV-acquisition risk is essentially nonexistent. Consequently there is no way you could be HIV infected. I agree your results are consistent with a false-reactive/indeterminate result. Had you been in the process of seroconverting at the time of your initial indeterminate result, we would have expected seroconversion to be complete five weeks later at the time of your second test. If you or your physician remain concerned, I would suggest getting an APTIMA HIV-1 RNA qualitative assay. It's the only RNA/PCR test approved by the FDA for HIV-diagnostic screening. Unlike ELISA and Western Blot tests, the APTIMA does not rely on anti-HIV antibodies. Rather, it assays for a piece of the virus's genetic material. Consequently it is not confounded by cross-reacting non-specific antibodies that can cause false-positive or indeterminate HIV-antibody test results. You can read much more about this in the archives of this forum. Have a look!I'll post below a link of what can be found in the archives.

Dr. Bob

Poz Person's risk for Genital Herpes (HERPES, 2011)
Confused! Help! Does it make a difference?

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