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5 years of worry over P51 band, please help
Mar 15, 2005

Hi, I have worried for going on 5 years now and need to move on with my life. You will tell me to re-test, I know. But I am one of those people that need something to get the courage. I am going to be engaged soon (I've had sex with soon to be fiance for 3 years unprotected and he is HIV negative, gives blood like clockwork). In September 2001 I gave blood. I had ONE encounter with a guy about 3 weeks before I gave blood. It was unprotected and stupid. We dated for several months before, so I knew him but not well. That was the ONLY time I had unprotected sex in over 3 years. So my only contact would have been in like 1998 or September 2001. I got the note from the blood center saying I had a positive ELISA and then my Western blot was indeterminate because of ONE band, P51. The P24 antigen test and also one other were both negative (THE 2 used for the "window period"). also HIV-2 and all other STD's negative. I contacted "the guy" who SAYS he was negative and SAYS he went to the doctor and tested with negative results. I on the other hand am afraid to go. My current man is so convinced I am okay he doesn't want to have protected sex even. He says I am fine and need to just either face that fact or get re-tested. The problem, my sex life and LIFE is suffering. I have NO DESIRE to have sex and it is ruining our relationship. I think about the possibility at least 5 times a day or more. I've written you guys before with no response, can you please tell me if this sounds positive. I had one doctor (hematologist actually) friend of mine say that it sounds impossible because if I was infected then P51 wouldn't show up first ... that combined with the fact the guy i've been with for 3 year is negative repeatdly. What do you think? How relevent is P51 and how in the world can I re-test? I would need to go "out of town" to a free clinic b/c of my current work assignment. please help me with these labs.... worried.

Response from Dr. Conway

Move on. In the absence of any other corroborating evidence, single bands of any kind on a Western blot are not of significance. This is especially true given the passage of time and the absence of any evidence of immune disease. Forgive yourself for the time before and allow yourself to enjoy your current relationship.



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