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Author Topic: Preliminary Positive  (Read 3051 times)

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Offline restless142

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Preliminary Positive
« on: October 16, 2011, 02:28:37 PM »

I am a gay international student. Last weekend I attended a pride event and took a rapid HIV test (oral swab) and tested preliminary positive. The counselor took another sample to send it to a laboratory for ELISA and western blot tests. I spent the next two days just being shocked, scared, confused, and a whole host of other emotions. Then on Tuesday I finally had the courage to look more into HIV, the tests, advancement and treatment options. After a few hours of doing this, for the first time since I took the test, I started to doubt the accuracy of the test I took. Here's why:

I don't know why, but I have never been into anal sex. The one time I tried it was a protected encounter and was over 2 years ago and I have been tested negative since. I only engage in foreplay and oral sex. The counselor told me that the CDC states that unprotected oral sex carries 'moderate' risk. The previous times that I have taken HIV tests, it was always a blood or oral swab test that was sent to the laboratory and had to wait 2 weeks for my result. This is the first time I took a rapid HIV test with results revealed in 20 minutes. I then started looking for causes that my preliminary result may be a false positive. I found a lot of information, some of which made me feel a little better and some of which caused more confusion and restlessness. A little about my previous medical back ground: About 10 years ago, I was diagnosed and treated for TB. As an infant, I was treated for Jaundice and have had relatively weak liver since. I read a few journal articles that did mention antibodies from liver diseases and antibodies from having had TB in the past or having TB currently as factors that can cause a false positive on a rapid HIV test.

I have read umpteen posts on here that mention in bold that there has not been a single documented case of HIV transmitted through oral sex. While this gives me so much relief (thank you), the fact that I tested preliminarily positive still makes me very nervous. The counselor did mention to me (after I told him about my sexual history) that while extremely rare, false positives do exist and that he doesn't want to unnecessarily raise my hopes and that I should wait for my confirmatory results. I was told that it might take more than 2 weeks due to the many samples collected at a major event like pride.

It has only been a week  but it feels like forever and the wait for possibly more than another week of this is just killing me.I wake up in the middle of the night, and start to worry about it again. And so after a lot of thought I decided to post here. I am hoping somebody could shed some light on my case. The fact that I tested preliminary positive still seems very unclear to me and was hoping maybe somebody here may have some answers to it.

Thank you.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Preliminary Positive
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2011, 02:49:59 PM »
It is not true that false positives are unusual. They happen for all sorts of reasons. It's false negatives which are rare as long as the test is done at the proper length of time after a risky incident,

Given the facts of your sexual history as you have reported them, I expect your next result to be negative.

Good luck and keep us posted.
Andy Velez

Offline restless142

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Re: Preliminary Positive
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2011, 02:57:39 PM »
Thank you Andy. I will be sure to keep you all posted.

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
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Re: Preliminary Positive
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 07:34:57 AM »

I agree with Andy that false positives are somewhat common, particularly on the rapid tests. That's why a positive on such a test should only ever be referred to as a "preliminary" positive, as the counsellor in your case correctly did.

All sorts of things can cause false positives as you have discovered. That is why any positive result must be confirmed with further antibody and Western Blot testing.

Like Andy, from what you have reported, I also expect the results from your further tests will be negative. Hang in there and try to relax.

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