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Rapid HIV blood test, faint line in test area positive, recent exposure. Test accurate?

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I got a rapid HIV blood test last Tuesday. There was a very faint line in the test area. The nurse said that means I am preliminary positive, most likely from a recent exposure. She drew blood and sent it to the lab. The results are going to be in tomorrow. I always practiced safe sex, and not only that, my last sexual partner was over 6 months ago. If THAT person (or anyone before them) gave me HIV, then the line would have been much darker, no? Im not sure, Im just scared, and I dont know what to do, because so many people tell me that this rapid test is inaccurate, many say it is, I dont know whats right and whats not, please help me?
Posted Mon, 23 Apr 2012 in HIV and AIDS
 
 
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 2 hours later
Hello,
Thanks for posting your query.
From your history the chances of you having an HIV infection are less.
Now, let me first tell you that we essentially have two types of test for HIV-(1) screening and (2) diagnostic. As a stepwise approach, we go first for a screening test as they are highly sensitive- but not specific, and if positive, we go for a diagnostic test which is highly specific.

The screening test is ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbant Assay) test. It is a serological test that depends on antigen antibody reaction. In your case this rapid ELISA test is positive. This needs to be confirmed by a triple ELISA or western blot test.
Since the rapid tests are not very specific, it can come positive even if there is no infection. It is best to wait for the results of more specific tests like western blot.

Hope this answers your query. I will be glad to answer the follow up queries that you have.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Rapid HIV blood test, faint line in test area positive, recent exposure. Test accurate? 7 hours later
The rapid test I got was not ELISA. It was the Unigold test.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 6 hours later
Hello.
Thanks for writing again.
Uni gold is 99% specific for antibodies against HIV-I. Still it needs to be confirmed by more specific tests like western blot. It has to be strongly positive for full reliability.
A faint positive result could have been due to artifacts or inappropriate environmental conditions. Do not worry.
Hope my answer is helpful. Further queries are welcome.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you a trouble free speedy recovery.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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