I'm a 28 male who lives in a low risk HIV area.

About a year ago I had a HIV test done (I needed it for surgery) and I was told that the test result was "inconclusive". I didn't know much about HIV and HIV testing at the time and obviously I was worried. After asking a lot of questions the doctor told me that the administered test (ELISA) was reactive to the HIV antibodies and that we needed to do more tests to confirm the result. We took 2 more blood samples and ran 2 more tests (Western Blot and PCR). Fortunately both tests came back negative (no bands present and no proviral DNA was detected) which resulted in a HIV negative status.

One week ago I had another ELISA done along with standard STD tests (STD tests came back negative). This time the result also came back as "reactive" and we had to take more blood samples for Western Blot and PCR (still waiting for the results).

During the year between the tests I only had sex (vaginal, some of it unprotected) with one woman who was my girlfriend at the time and who as far as I know is HIV negative. Our last sexual encounter was 2 months ago.

Is it unheard-of for someone to be "reactive" to 2 separate ELISA tests 2 year apart? If so, and my results comeback again negative (fingers crossed) then what are my options for future testing? As you may imagine this is very stressful for me and for if some reason ELISA is sensitive to my blood are there any other tests that can be used for routine screenings?

Hello and thanks for reaching out to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

It seems you are concerned about a reactive test result that you have just received and would like to know which other tests to consider. We understand it is stressful to get a reactive test result. We are glad to provide some information.

As you have stated that the first reactive test was followed up with two more tests that came back negative it is therefore important to treat these ELISA tests separately. Since the two additional tests after the first ELISA tests come back negative we would assume that you were HIV free. We use the word assume because we do not know the the timeline between the tests.

With regards to tests we recommend that you get the 4th generation test if it is available because this tests for antibodies and the antigens and is considered the most accurate. For conclusive results you need to get tested 12 weeks or three months after your last encounter. If you have not already arranged for this we would strongly recommend you to consider getting tested again at 12 weeks or after for conclusive results.

The Aids Vancouver Helpline Online forum has postings that are related to your question that you can read for additional information. If you have any further questions feel free to contact us again.

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

In health


AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online


Charitable Registration #
10668 9896 RR0001

© 2019
Privacy Policy


1101 Seymour Street
Suite 235, 2nd Floor
Vancouver, BC V6B 0R1


Main Phone: 604-893-2201
Fax: 604-893-2205