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Re: HIV testing and the elisa test
Hveragerthi Views: 5,035
Published: 10 years ago
This is a reply to # 1,904,249

Re: HIV testing and the elisa test

Hi. I just had an hiv test and the results came back as "inconclusive". I've done some research on reputable websites and found that there could be a number of different reasons for that.

True, there are over 65 known causes for false positives on HIV antibody tests.  So a positive test means nothing.

But I'm also finding conflicting information. Some souces say that the elisa test produces one of three results. Either positive, negative or inconclusive. Other say that ALL positive elisa results are considered inconcluive until they are backed up by a western blot test. It this case the the word "inconclusive" is being used as a euphemism for "positive".

There are several problems with this.  First of all the Western blot is less accurate than the ELISA.  Using a less accurate test to confirm another test is ludicrous, but it is done this way since ELISA is cheaper to run.  Second problem though is that both are antibody tests and prone to the same flaws.  Most of the those 65 known causes of false positives are due to a problem known as serological cross reactivity.  This means antibodies of like structure can cross react on antigen test targets yielding false positives.  Both ELISA and Western blot are prone to this same problem as well as other testing problems.  But a false positive on ELISA will likely create a false positive on the Western blot since they are both reactive to nonspecific antibodies.

Is there any way I can know for sure which is the case here?

You can't.  There are no common lab tests that can confirm the presence of any particular virus.

My doctor won't answer questions over the phone and it's going to be a long nine days waiting for more results.


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