Western Blot Neg / DNA PCR Detected Yet Inderminant (ANOTHER EXAMPLE WHY PCR SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR ROUTINE HIV SCREENING, 2009)

Question

After having unprotected oral sex only (3 weeks ago, with semen in my mouth) I got a fever, sore throat and my face broke out. I got tested one week ago. The "HIV-1 Antibody, Confirmation Western Blot" was negative. The "HIV 1/O/2 Abs, Qual HIV 1/O/2 Abs, Qual" was non-reactive. But the "HIV-1 DNA by PCR With HIV Antibodies by ICMA HIV-1" result came back with "DNA detected -- Indeterminate". So the big question is... am I positive? Beyond freaking out here. What does it mean for the DNA test to have detected HIV DNA but still be "interterminant". That makes know sense to me. Thank you.

Answer

Hello,

Yours is another prime example why PCR testing should not be used for routine HIV screening! Your HIV-acquisition risk is very small (oral sex). Consequently most likely you are not infected. My advice is to get an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark per the recommended testing guidelines. If it's negative, you're negative. It really is just that straightforward.

Dr. Bob