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Pregnancy, false positive, and indeterminate results "PLEASE help me! I'm not sleeping!!!"

Jan 22, 2012

I wrote on here last week, and I haven't heard anything yet. I have not been sleeping at all!!! I am 12 weeks pregnant. When I was 10 weeks pregnant, I had the routine HIV screening. My rapid test must have come back "reactive", and my Western Blot test came back "indeterminate". I immediately starting panicking when my doctor told me this. She read through all of the antigens tested, and they were all "not present"; however, they said there was a "non-specific band present". What does that mean? If all of my antigens were not present, why is that not negative? I was retested and I will find out sometime this coming week. Also, they tested my husband with whom I have been with and the only person I have been with in 5 years. His HIV test came back negative. I am nervous because while I have only slept with two people including my husband, my first boyfriend cheated on me all the time. Who knows who he was with. Also, I am a nurse and have worked with AIDS patients on several occasions in the past. Standard precautions were always used. If you could please help ease my mind or give me any information, it would be GREATLY appreciated!! ANY information would be MUCH appreciated. The provider that i go to was unable to give me ANY information on what "non-specific band present" meant. Also, I am a Type 1 diabetic. Could that autoimmune disorder have anything to do with it? Thanks so much!!

Response from Mr. Glenn

Thanks for the questions!

False positives ("reactive" results) do occur on RARE occasions during testing. This is why all positives are backed up with a confirmatory test. Indeterminate results also occur for various reasons, but it's important to know that this result means NEITHER negative NOR positive. It does, however, mean that further testing in required.Sounds like this is what is happening in your case.

I can understand your anxiety though. When a test comes back reactive, when you have to wait, and when you don't feel like you're getting all the information you're looking for.. that can be challenging! But you're doing exactly what you need to do to ensure the health of you and your baby (i.e. seeking knowledge and getting tested!). Your husband having a negative result is also helpful. While we stick to the "your test is your test" and "his test is his test," if you all have had (unprotected) sex many many times over the past 5 years then odds are you'd probably have the same status. Again, further testing is your ultimate confirmation!

Your hunch is right, diabetes can give an "indeterminate" result. Being pregnant can also increase the chances of a false positive or indeterminate results. But remember, HIV testing is very reliable.. you're still just in the middle of the process.

Despite the temptation to rummage through your history for helpful details, your further testing is really going to give you the answer you're looking. But as a note: from what you're telling me, your work with AIDS patients posed absolutely no risk.

Remember, you're so close to getting that result, which will give it to you!

Feel free to rummage through our archives though, you'll find pregnancy and testing related questions like THIS.

Hope this helps!


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