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Please Help
May 7, 2011

Hi Doctor!! In Dec of last year I had protected sex with a guy, I'm female. I never thought of Hiv because the sex was protected. This April I noticed swollen lymph nodes in my armpits and neck. This really freaked me out and automatically think about the time with that guy. I can't help but think maybe the condom broke?! I had a test done 15 weeks after my possible exposure. My doctor said it was negative. I notice it was a western blot. I realize its used for confirmation purposes only and questioned why I wasn't asked to test again or told I had a positive elisa. She told me that she only ordered a western blot and its negative and I don't need to retest. I know after reading your site that my doctor did the wrong test., but can I move on with my life with a negative Western blot at 15 weeks? Thanks in advance for your advice!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

You are absolutely correct: your doctor ordered the wrong test and someone should advise her of that fact. You are also correct that Western Blot testing should only be performed as a confirmatory test for a repeatedly reactive (positive) screening ELISA, EIA or rapid test. That said, you actually don't need a repeat or follow-up test. The problem with Western Blot tests is false-indeterminate or false-positive results. Luckily your test was negative. False-negative results on Western Blot testing is not a problem due to the sensitivity and specificity of the WB assay.

You can now yell WOO-HOO! and stop worrying about HIV, OK?

Be well.

Dr. Bob



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