both western blot and initial antibody test detected/ reactive!

Question

hi dr frascino, im not going to get a woohoo am i. im nearing my eleventh week of pregnancy and the results i have recieved on my hiv test are as follows: the first test (Assumingly a elisa however it does not say) notify that hiv 1/2 ab is repeatedly reactive. the second test is a western blot which says that antibody to hiv type-1 is detected. these results look pretty grim, but i have not used intravenous drugs, have only had unprotected sex with two people, one whom i have a son with and during that pregnancy was -ive and my current partner and i had std checkups 12 months ago and in that time we have only been with each other! this is really confusing and stressful! what are the odds of both these tests being wrong Dr Fras? and if so what are the chances of a freak needlestick incident?

Answer

Hi,

If indeed you've had essentially no HIV risk exposure, then you could not be HIV infected. The chances of a freak needlestick incident are essentially nonexistent. You would remember if a psychotic person stabbed you with a syringe full of fresh HIV-tainted blood!

Pregnancy (or past pregnancies) can cause nonspecific cross-reacting antibodies that can result in indeterminate or false-positive HIV-antibody tests. Because you've had two repeatedly reactive tests, but essentially no HIV-risk exposure, and because you are pregnant, I would advise you get a qualitative PCR DNA test. This test is not recommended for routine HIV diagnostic screening, but it can be helpful in sorting out unclear HIV-antibody test results. The DNA PCR test assays for a piece of the virus's genetic material and is not dependent on anti-HIV antibodies. I would say your odds of having two false-positive HIV-antibody tests are quite good.

Good luck. Write back and let us know the outcome.

Dr. Bob