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plusorminus
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Reged: 05/28/12
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Two pos tests, one neg; low risk--what now?
      #263311 - 05/28/12 02:16 PM

Hello ...

I am in Guatemala and recently had some HIV tests done for visa purposes. First rapid test positive, second test (ELISA) positive, third test (ELISA) negative. All with same blood sample. What is probability that both positives false? I.e. how worried should I be while I wait to retest with Western Blot in about a month?

Details:

I tested in September 2011 (I regularly test) and tested negative. It was a rapid test.

The most recent unprotected sex I had had at that time was April 2011. The individual with whom I had had unprotected sex said he was negative.

In June 2011, I had protected sex with someone who I believe could have been high risk but who said he was negative and tested regularly. He did not ejaculate, in addition to wearing a condom, and the condom did not break.

Since being tested in September 2011, I have had protected sex with one individual, and unprotected with one other (beginning in February--my current partner.) The partner with whom I have been having unprotected sex says he has tested negative in the past. He has been with only one other individual within the past two years.

I have read online that being ill close to an exam can cause false positives. I have had phantom illnesses here, mostly digestive, as is common for travelers. There is a lot of contamination in food and water. A friend who works in HIV prevention in SF Bay denies there is a connection between illness and false positives, but says he believes ELISA is prone to human error. I have also read that test interpretation can vary country to country. The list of potential complicating factors goes on.

Thank you for your help and advice.

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bartlebyAdministrator
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Reged: 01/19/10
Posts: 660
Re: Two pos tests, one neg; low risk--what now? new
      #263349 - 05/30/12 03:42 PM

that is very curious indeed. since the ELISA is oversensitive, false positives are more common than false negatives. so the negative test result is promising, but i would wait for confirmation from the western blot.

in terms of worrying, i'd say scale of 1 to 10, i'd be at a 3. you've only had unprotected sex with your current partner. and if he is negative, as he claims, then there's no other way you could have contracted HIV.

i'd simply get tested again with your partner and if you're both negative, then it's a pretty good bet your original results were false positives.



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plusorminus
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Reged: 05/28/12
Posts: 2
Re: Two pos tests, one neg; low risk--what now? new
      #263384 - 05/31/12 07:26 PM

Thanks, Bartlby.

I got another ELISA done at another lab, and it came back negative. My bf tested negative on a rapid test as well. I plan to retest Western Blot if I can (hard to find in Guatemala) ... but two negatives, one from a different lab, of ELISA, which is known to be sensitive, seems pretty secure.

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bartlebyAdministrator
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Posts: 660
Re: Two pos tests, one neg; low risk--what now? new
      #263390 - 05/31/12 10:14 PM

yeah, i'd downgrade that panic meter from 3 to 0. if your partner hasn't been with anybody else in the last three months, then both your tests are conclusive and you guys are negative. congrats! and good on you for being mindful and testing regularly!

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