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Author Topic: Conflicting Test Results/Possible False Positive?  (Read 1230 times)

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Offline 06155160

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Conflicting Test Results/Possible False Positive?
« on: April 21, 2013, 06:50:34 PM »
I recently went to have a standard STI test done on 4/11/13. The results for the HIV portion showed that I had a repeatedly reactive ELISA and an indeterminate Western Blot. This surprised me, as I didn't think there was any chance I would test that way.

My last "high risk" exposure was unprotected anal sex (I was the insertive partner) with my boyfriend at the time. This was November 27, 2012. He and I had been dating for three years at that point. During that time, he is the only sexual partner that I had, and as far as I know, I am the only one he had. He had previously told me that before we started dating, he had a received a clean bill of health from an STI test. Although he could have been lying about both things, I generally trust him and assume he was telling the truth.

My only other encounter was on April 6. 2013 (5 days before I took the test). I gave unprotected oral sex to a man I had been seeing, who had also told me he was HIV negative. I allowed him to ejaculate in my mouth, at which point I swallowed. I had a minor cold at the time of this encounter, and a slightly sore throat, which I have read can increase the chances of HIV transmission through oral sex, although they remain low.

Before these two men, my last encounter would have been 4 years ago, and would have included oral sex that did not result in ejaculation. I have never had anal sex of any kind except with the boyfriend mentioned above.

After receiving my results, I went back to the clinic on 4/16/13, and had a Clearview Complete rapid test performed via fingerstick. This came back negative. I also had blood drawn to be sent away for further tests. Since then, I have also taken a few at home Oraquick HIV tests, all of which have given me a negative result.

These things have reassured me, but I am still worried as I await the latest blood test results. Based on what I have read regarding window periods, it seems unlikely that I would have received false negative results on the Clearview Complete/Oraquick tests if I had contracted the virus back in November, since it has now been 20 weeks (140 days) since that encounter. Furthermore, given the brief period (5 days) between my oral sex encounter and when I had my first ELISA performed, it seems unlikely (if not impossible) that the ELISA would have detected antibodies if I had contracted the virus from that encounter.

After all this information, my question boils down to...how likely is it that my first ELISA test was a false positive and that my Western Blot will resolve negatively through these further blood tests? And what are the chances, if I am HIV positive, that I could have contracted the virus from anyone other than my boyfriend or this new man (that is, given these conflicting test results, the only reasonable explanation if I am indeed HIV positive is that I could be seroconverting from a recent exposure, right? Meaning within the last 6 months at most).

Also, if my second blood draw tests come back negative, then the only encounter I need to be concerned about going forward would be the oral sex one, correct? Since a conclusive negative at this point would rule out the possibility of transmission from the incident in late November?

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Conflicting Test Results/Possible False Positive?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2013, 07:14:35 PM »
You don't have to concern yourself about oral sex. Oral sex is not a risk of HIV transmission.

Offline 06155160

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Re: Conflicting Test Results/Possible False Positive?
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2013, 08:16:40 PM »
Thanks, RapidRob. If that is truly the case, then if I am infected, it makes it easy to know where it came from, since my only other sexual activity aside from oral sex has been the insertive anal sex with my former partner. So I guess he's the only suspect.

What about the conflicting test results that I'm getting some 5 months after the unprotected anal sex? Do you (or anyone else) have thoughts or opinions about the likelihood that the first ELISA was a false positive reaction? After reading this board and others, it just seems like it would be a rare occurrence for me to get multiple negative antibody test results and an indeterminate Western Blot this far post-exposure.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Conflicting Test Results/Possible False Positive?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2013, 10:01:05 PM »
False positives, while relatively rare, do happen.

The ELISA tests are slanted towards sensitivity rather than specificity. This helps control the pandemic, albeit at the expense of the nerves of the occasional false positive. Rather a false positive than a false negative, from an epidemiological perspective.

Judging by your multiple subsequent testing, it would appear that you might really be HIV negative. Your latest blood draw will hopefully be definitive. Honestly, nothing to do now but wait. We can speculate, of course, but macro-based scientific data rarely translates exactly to the micro- to a specific person.

That's the inherent difficulty in HIV testing. Since it's skewed towards sensitivity rather than specificity,  only followup testing will determine your status.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline 06155160

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Re: Conflicting Test Results/Possible False Positive?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2013, 12:51:46 PM »
I agree that false positives are preferable to false negatives, although the anxiety I feel waiting for further results to find out if that is the case or not is definitely not a feeling I'd vote to experience.

Just to get confirmation on something I wrote in my first reply...if I am indeed HIV positive, then the only possible way I contracted it would have been through the unprotective insertive anal sex with my then boyfriend, correct? Because that is the only anal sex I've ever had. The only other sexual activity I've engaged in with all of my other partners is oral sex (although unprotected). Furthermore, even if I had contracted it from an earlier partner, at this point it would be going on 4 years and I would definitely be getting clearly positive results on all tests, right (that is, there's no chance I could be seroconverting at this point from an infection that occurred that long ago).

Offline Ann

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Re: Conflicting Test Results/Possible False Positive?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2013, 05:22:48 AM »
06,

If you were hiv positive as a result of the unprotected insertive anal intercourse you had back in November, your WB result would have been a clear positive result and you would not have obtained the subsequent negative antibody results.


My only other encounter was on April 6. 2013 (5 days before I took the test).

[snip]

I had a minor cold at the time of this encounter, and a slightly sore throat, which I have read can increase the chances of HIV transmission through oral sex, although they remain low.

After receiving my results, I went back to the clinic on 4/16/13, and had a Clearview Complete rapid test performed via fingerstick. This came back negative. I also had blood drawn to be sent away for further tests. Since then, I have also taken a few at home Oraquick HIV tests, all of which have given me a negative result.


Here's what it looks like to me.

You received false positive antibody results because you were still getting over a viral throat infection - just a regular bug of the type that goes around during cold and flu season. False positive results can and do happen.

Your subsequent negative antibody tests are the ones to look at - if you were positive they would also have given you positive results.

You can go on and test further over the oral if you wish, but you really don't need further testing at this time. You only need to keep up the habit of having regular, routine sexual health check ups once - or twice is better - a year going forward.

Here's what you need to know in order to avoid hiv infection:

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 the condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence.

ALTHOUGH YOU DO NOT NEED FURTHER HIV TESTING AT THIS TIME, 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. Some of the other STIs can be present with no obvious symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to test.

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

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

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