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Indeterminate Antibody Test, Negative PCR DNA
Jul 7, 2011

Hi, Dr Frascino,

I am hoping against hope that you can give my wife and me some guidance here. Please, we plead with you.

As recent as last week, my wife was asked to go for a HIV test for insurance purposes. The results were slightly positive ECLIA, negative EIA and negative Immunochromatography, giving an overall "indeterminate" result. As you can imagine, we were in extreme shock as we have never strayed outside our marriage vows, do not inject drugs, did not have tattoos nor pierced ears. Our minds kept racing back in time to identify any incident of possible exposure - ear rings, visit to the dentist, etc - but just couldn't pinpoint any specific incident. The doctor who attended to my wife said that it could have been some other viral infection but no idea what it was. The uncertainty is driving us crazy; we have since lost 2-3 kilograms due to anxiety, loss of appetite and lost sleep.

Then about two days ago, on seeing the state my wife was in, the doctor suggested that she went for a PCR DNA test (nested PCR). The result was negative. Obviously we were comforted somewhat by the result, though we remain nervous and would appreciate deeply if you could help us with:

1. What could have caused the "indeterminate" result? 2. Can we move forward with the negative PCR DNA?

Please, your response is most appreciated.

Many thanks, Worried Wife and Husband 1. What could have caused the "indeterminate" result?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello, Worried Wife and Husband.

Your wife is HIV negative based on the totality of her test results.

1. There are a number of potential causes for indeterminate HIV antibody test results. You can read about these in detail in the archives of this forum. The most common cause is the presence of nonspecific cross-reacting antibodies.

2. Yes, absolutely.

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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