confused about RNA test result

Question

I had unprotected sex and was worried about HIV exposure. About 6 weeks after the sex, I had the Elisa/Western Blot test and it came back reactive for p-18, but inconclusive. I then took a PCR RNA test at 2 months from the sex and it came back negative. Is this conclusive enough that I don't have HIV? My family doctor said it was, but she seemed unsure in her answer..

Thanks in advance,

Still Worried

Answer

Hello,

I'll be brief.

ELISA/Western Blot (WB) tests taken prior to three months are not considered definitive. PCR RNA tests should not be used for routine HIV screening.

My advice is for you to take an ELISA at the three-month mark. If it's negative, as I assume it will be, you are negative and no further testing is warranted. If positive, you should then establish care with an HIV specialist physician for further evaluation and treatment.

Finally, regarding WB tests, the initial band usually seen in folks who are seroconverting is anti-p24, not p-18.