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Author Topic: False Positive ELISA  (Read 2378 times)

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Offline worriedkjt

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False Positive ELISA
« on: October 25, 2009, 07:31:43 PM »
Hello,

I am a heterosexual white female.  In May I received a reactive ELISA; the Western blot was negative.  My doctor was not concerned.  She just sort of brushed it off as "one of those things" and asked me to do a retest at the 6-month mark to clear my status.  I was freaked out, though.  At the time I was in a committed and monogamous relationship.  We did not always practice safe sex (although, for what it's worth, he never came in me).  I truly don't believe he is HIV+, but my anxiety got turned on big-time with this disturbing testing experience.  I have no reason to doubt my partner's status, but I cannot prove it.

I recently took a rapid test (blood sample).  It was negative.  This would have been about 4 1/2 months following the reactive ELISA/negative Western Blot and 14 weeks since I have had any sort of sexual experience/risk.

My question is this -- can I trust that negative rapid test (I now obviously have some very serious "trust issues" regarding testing)?  And is 14 weeks okay, even though my doctor said 6 months?  Do I have a higher chance of getting a false positive in the future?  This has been a bizarre and frustrating experience.  I just want to put it behind me and go on with my life.  Can I?

Thanks for your help!

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
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Re: False Positive ELISA
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2009, 08:01:34 AM »
Worried,

The doctor was absolutely correct - sometimes false positives just happen. Persistent ones can be due to an underlying condition such as pregnancy or an underlying autoimmune disease, but one-offs are just something that happen now and then. You had a one-off.

Technically speaking, you didn't need ANY further testing. Your WB proved you to be hiv negative. Your subsequent negative ELISA just further proves that you do NOT have hiv. Yes, you can get on with your life.

But you do need to stop having unprotected intercourse with people whose hiv status you are not 100% sure of. This is not negotiable. You need to be using condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, every time, no exceptions until such time as you are in a securely monogamous relationship where you have both tested for ALL sexually transmitted infections together. To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with an STI. Sex without a condom lasts only a matter of minutes, but hiv is forever.

Have a look through all three condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence.

Anyone who is sexually active should be having a full sexual health care check-up, including but not limited to hiv testing, at least once a year and more often if unprotected intercourse occurs.

If you aren't already having regular, routine check-ups, now is the time to start. As long as you make sure condoms are being used for intercourse, you can fully expect your routine hiv tests to return with negative results. Don't forget to always get checked for all the other sexually transmitted infections as well, because they are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv.

Use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, and you will avoid hiv infection. It really is that simple!

Either get your fella to have a full sexual health care check up before you let him near you without a condom again, or insist on condoms every time. Don't learn the hard way like I did. I also thought "he couldn't possibly..." but he did (and he didn't know it himself). I've been positive over twelve years now. Please learn from my mistake and not the hard way.

Ann
« Last Edit: October 26, 2009, 08:03:11 AM by Ann »
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline worriedkjt

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  • Posts: 4
Re: False Positive ELISA
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2009, 03:08:30 PM »
Thank you so much for your feedback.  This has been quite an experience, and I've learned a lot.  Thanks also for giving me a "butt kicking" in terms of practicing safer sex!  :)  I needed it!

Wishing you the best on your own health and thanking you for all that you're doing in helping others.

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: False Positive ELISA
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2009, 03:32:31 PM »
Worried,

You're welcome. Just remember to insist on condom use and you'll be just fine where hiv is concerned. Remember, sex without a condom last only a matter of minutes, but hiv is forever.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline worriedkjt

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: False Positive ELISA
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2009, 04:07:13 PM »
Thanks again for your help, Ann.  Just some follow-up thoughts -- when my doctor informed me of the false positive result she was totally unconcerned.  Asked few/almost no follow-up questions in regards to my sexual partners/history/behaviors.  Didn't even comment on use of condoms/protection.  Just told me it was a negative test and that they would retest at 6 mos.

After further research into HIV, I'm surprised she didn't have me retest in a few weeks.  I know that if someone is actually in the process of seroconverting during this testing period, it's more likely to see a reactive ELISA and INDETERMINATE Western Blot (my Western Blot was negative), but I've still seen reference made to cases in which a reactive ELISA and nonreactive Western Blot later became positive in a couple weeks.  In your experience, does this happen often -- a reactive ELISA and NONREACTIVE Western Blot later turning positive?

Thanks to the follow-up rapid test, I'm convinced of my negative status, but after reading into this type of situation I'm becoming a little alarmed that my doctor didn't ask for a follow-up test about a month following the test results.  And what gives with the 6 mos window she gave me?  Do all/most doctors still stick to this uber-conservative stance?

Thanks for providing a great resource.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: False Positive ELISA
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2009, 04:38:33 PM »
A negative western blot always trumps a positive ELISA. I wouldn't have even thought any re-testing to be necessary.

You're anxiety is understandable but you are definitely HIV negative.

Like Ann I do think you and your partner ought to have some grownup conversation about HIV. As in getting tested together and confirming that you are both in a securely monogamous relationship. If there is any doubt about you both being HIV negative and monogamy, then you ought to be using condoms everytime you have intercourse.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2009, 04:40:47 PM by Andy Velez »
Andy Velez

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: False Positive ELISA
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2009, 04:55:34 PM »
worried,

Many doctors are not up to date on current hiv testing protocol. It's just the way it is. Maybe you could print some up-to-date information out for your doctor if you're concerned about her lack of knowledge.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline worriedkjt

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: False Positive ELISA
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2009, 05:26:09 PM »
Andy and Ann,

Thanks for the feedback.  Makes sense.  And yes, I have been practicing SAFE sex diligently!!  Once again, you provide an invaluable service.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: False Positive ELISA
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2009, 07:06:24 PM »
You're welcome. Glad to have been helpful.

Good luck with moving on with your partner.
Andy Velez

Offline Ann

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  • Member
  • Posts: 28,140
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: False Positive ELISA
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2009, 07:08:00 PM »
Worried,

You're welcome. Keep making sure condoms are being used and you'll be just fine where hiv is concerned. If you haven't already, be sure to read through those condom and lube links in my signature line. We're not born knowing the correct storage and usage of them, so get reading.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

 


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