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Weak positive ELISA
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Weak positive ELISA

I had an  encounter around 5 weeks ago where I performed oral sex on a female prostitute in Dubai (she was Asian although I am not sure from where exactly). The vaginal sex was protected. I was worried so I got tested for all STD's. Everything was negative except for the HIV ELISA test which showed a weak positive result (average of 1.20 against a cutoff of 1.0).
As you can imagine I am freaking out right now and am having trouble functioning/eating/sleeping and working. The doctor has taken more blood to have a Western blot test however this has to be sent to Germany and this will take 2 weeks. I guess I want to know if 1.20 is high and if, once its above the cutoff, a higher number increaes the chances that I am HIV positive? The doctor said the cutoff for strong positive is 3.00. What are my chances of testing negative under the Blot test? My world has been thrown up in the air here. Any help and advise especially around thye ELISA numbers will be much appreciated.

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Welcome to the Forum. I have no doubt that your positive ELISA for HIV has made your life tumultuous.  Here in the U.S. we do not distinguish between "weak positive" ELISAs in the same way that we do for tests such as herpes. Rather, a positive test (any positive test) is then tested using a different test- sometimes a Western blot, other times using another test such a rapid test which tests for different viral proteins than the ELISA.  The second test should be done on the same blood specimen as the first test taken.  Thus I am a bit surprised at several things:

1.  That the Western blot will take 2 weeks
2.  That more blood was requested to do a Western blot
3.  That the distinction was made regarding a "weak positive".  

In my opinion, you need additional testing.  If you have HIV, the odds that you got it through oral sex or protected vaginal sex would be very, very low and it would likely reflect infection that was there before.  You should be able to have another test performed which looks for different HIV proteins.   Does your doctor regularly deal with HIV and HIV testing?  If not, perhaps he would be willing to either offer clarification or to send you for a second test or second opinion.

Hope this helps.  EWH
I have a Western Blot pending but will take 2 weeks for the result. I am trying to convince myself that it is a false positive and that the 1.20 is quite a weak result so hopefully wouldn't definitely indicate HIV.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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