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EIA reactive - WB negative - RNA viral load undetectable
Nov 23, 2012

Hi, I am trying to determine the likelihood that i am infected with HIV. I had a first test performed at 2.5 weeks after the initial potential exposure, which came back as follows: The HIV EIA was REACTIVE. The ANTI HIV-1 / WB was NEGATIVE. The ANTI HIV-2 / EIA was NON-REACTIVE. The ANTIGEN P24 HIV-1 / EIA was NEGATIVE. I am very concerned about the initial Reactive EIA. I had a second test performed at 5 weeks and all the results were the same as above. My doctor had a viral load (RNA) test performed at 7 weeks, using Abbott Realtime HIV-1, and the results were undetectable (ie. below the minimal limit for detection of 40 units per ml). In case this is relevant, I took Penicillin for 10 days starting at week 1 for an unrelated matter (symptoms of strep throat). Apart from that I have not taken any medication or treatment. I am still waiting for results of WB test that was performed at 7 weeks, but these tests take so long to come back, and I am anxious to know where I stand Do you think HIV infection can be ruled out at this point considering the negative WB at 2.5 weeks and 5 weeks, and the undetectable viral load RNA at 7 weeks? If not, do you think it can be ruled out if my 7 weeks WB comes back negative? My doctor tells me that to rule out infection conclusively we have to wait for results of WB at 8 weeks, as this is the standard protocol of their office. Perhaps he's being ovely cautious because he lacks the the specialized knowledge to be interpreting the early results. Thank you in advance for your response. Henry

Response from Dr. Wohl

Dear Henry,

Almost certainly your positive EIA was false and you are not HIV infected. The viral load being negative at 7 weeks clinches this for me. If you were infected your virus levels would be sky high at 7 weeks.

Complete the testing but I am pretty sure it will confirm the same.

Your case is an important example of how HIV screening is more likely to lead to results that are falsely positive than falsely negative. Screening tests are designed to overcall the disease being searched for. More specific tests can then determine, as it did in this case, if the screening test was false or not.

DW



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