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False ‘reactive’ Elisa, negative Western Blot

Long time lurker, first time poster. And I definitely have HIV phobia, of that I’m sure.

I’m a straight male living in New Zealand. I’ve  tested numerous times for HIV over last 5 years,
always negative, always low/no risk exposures (protected intercourse, cunnilingus).

Over 18 months ago I performed unprotected cunnilingus with a random hookup (no other sexual acts beyond kissing and fingering). Freaked out I went to an STI clinic where I convinced them to prescribe me PEP 36hrs post exposure against their better judgement. Tested at day 1 (negative), and day 25 (negative). No missed doses.

5 months post cunnilingus (4 months post PEP completion) went to a DIFFERENT  clinic as anxiety had gotten the better of me, for an STI screen including 4th generation HIV. To my horror, I had a call saying I’d come back “slightly reactive” on the Elisa (index of 1.08 or words to that effect). They thought it was a false positive but ran Western Blot as protocol which came back as negative. Phew

Unfortunately I was unable to move past the initial Elisa result, and after struggling with anxiety went for another test at the same clinic 12 months post cunnilingus exposure, even though they advised me NOT to test again (7 months after initial tests). Once again Elisa came back on the border and Western Blot negative. Told I was conclusively negative by the clinic specialist

Thought I had moved on, but have now slipped back into the anxiety of thinking perhaps the Elisa is picking up really ‘low level’ evidence of the virus (somehow affected by the PEP perhaps?) and the WB is somehow ‘missing’ the virus and reporting false negatives, or there’s been a laboratory WB testing error...twice. Compounding my anxiety is the fact that I’ve never recorded slightly reactive Elisa results before (to my knowledge anyway...).

I guess my question is: Can I put my faith in the 2 negative WB tests taken 5 and 12 months post cunnilingus, regardless of the Elisa results. Bonus point question: why Am I now getting reactive Elisa’s when historically I haven’t?

Thanks
2 Responses
3191940 tn?1447268717
COMMUNITY LEADER
None of the activities you have engaged in put you at risk for HIV.  Sexually, the only risk is unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, so you were never exposed to HIV.

This is why we never advise people without a risk, and with high anxiety, to test for HIV.  Eventually, due to the sensitivity of the tests, you'll get a false positive.  Western Blot is definitive, and you don't have HIV.  Then again, you were never going to have HIV since you were never exposed to HIV.

The problem here is not HIV, but anxiety, and I suggest working with a therapist to help you overcome your irrational fears.
4 Comments
Sorry me again. I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of anxiety, physical discomfort and Googling and can’t get out of my head why my 2 most recent Elisa tests were slightly reactive when previous Jetstar they hadn’t been? I’m worried the 28 day course of PEP I was on has delayed the ‘Fiebig stages’ (12 months on mind you) and that’s why Western Blot is showing a negative result. Is there another type test and I can ask my doctor to give me which improves accuracy one way or the other?
Unfortunately you are not willing to let this fixation on hiv go away, so you are suffering - for no valid reason. You haven't accepted any of the advice here, so I don't know why you keep asking for more information each time you waste your time Googling for something new. None of your ideas are scientific, so it is time to stop trying to reinvent the existing 40 year old hiv science with them as your basis.

See a therapist to deal with your real problem which the other 2 posters pointed out in the last sentence of their posts. This is not an anxiety support forum, and only a therapist can help you escape from the rabbit hole.
Thank you for your prompt and direct response. I’ll sort out some further therapy and do my best to stay off Google...
Staying off Google is easy. Nothing compels you to go there. I hope you do that because this necessary for you to have any chance to enjoy your life again.
Avatar universal
You've overtested conclusively negative for a non exposure. You do not have HIV.

But you do have a severe and debilitating anxiety problem which would greatly benefit from therapy. Please take some time to locate a therapist with whom you can address this crippling issue, as it will only get worse if you don't get help.
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