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inconclusive hiv test
Apr 13, 2004

While I was pregnant in 1/03-9/03 I had 3 hiv test where the ELISA part came back positive and the western blot was negative. I was very upset throughout my pregnancy because all of the doctors made it seem as though I had recently contracted hiv. To me this was an impossibility. My husband and I did some research and found that in some pregnant women the ELISA sometimes comes back positive due to certain hormones. Could you elaborate on what hormones do this, and if the above is common. Also Should I consider myself HIV negative after having 3 inconclusive tests. My child was also tested after birth and her test was also the same as mine inconclusive. We are both healthy and have not gotten sick, not even with a cold.

Response from Dr. Lee

It is not entirely clear why pregnant women sometimes have inconclusive or even false positive antibody tests. There appears to be an interfering substance that stimulate antibodies similar to those aimed at HIV. It might help you to check an HIV RNA PCR which if positive would be more conclusive. Also, the antibody tests normally revert to negative shortly after pregnancy, so perhaps you could simply recheck an antibody test. Clearly, if you are negative, there is no need to check you baby.

Be well.


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