Avatar universal

Extremely worried about my results

Nearly 4 moths ago I got tested for Hep c when I was in France as an exchange student, the result came back positive with no s/co ratio on it. I was so shocked at that time because i couldn't remember any risk factor that i might have contracted Hep c from. The doctor had me done another blood test which in the end he told me I'm actually not infected, so i kind of put this hep c thing behind my mind.

However when i got back to my country about two weeks ago, I went for another two Hep c Elisa test. The tests came back positive with the cut-off rate 1.28 and 1.26.  Now I have had a HVC PCR blood test done and I'm waiting for the result, it will not be backed until next monday.

I am very scared and experiencing a lot of anxiety at this moment, i can't sleep at night and i can't concentrate on my work during day time. Any advice I would love and here are my questions if anyone can help me.

1. Do I have a high chance this is just a false positive and i can have a negative PCR back?
(From what I've read and researched from this site, my cut off values could be considered awfully low. )

2. Does a weakly reactive mean if it is positive I haven't had for very long?
(I really can't remember engaging in any risky behavior )

Thanks in advance, you guys are doing a wonderful and awesome job here :)

12 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi, welcome to the Forum.  First,  take a deep breath, exhale, and RELAX!  This, not matter what the outcome, is not the end of your world.

You doctors, both in France and here, did the right thing.  when the saw the positive response (in Hep C Speak that read 'reactive') they tested you for viral load.  That is what the second test is.

The main reason your Dr here retested you, is depending on when you were exposed, he wants to make sure the test result on the RNA PCR test was accurate.  IF you had been exposed fairly recently, before the tests in France, it might not have been enough time to get an accurate RNA PCRresult.

On the other hand, with the Antibody test, once Reactive (positive), always Reactive.  Everything has been handled correctly, now, really, relax and wait for the RNA PCR test results.

Don't strain yourself on where you got it.  There are many different ways.  Everyone pretty much knows about blood transfusions in or prior to the very early 90s, and about IV drug needle sharing.  However, there are other ways of getting Hep C which are not nearly as often, but definitely CAN cause it, including, but not limited to:  dental care where the instruments were not properly sterile, tattoo needles, whether from needles not properly or completely sterilized, or where the virus got transferred to the ink, body piercings, including ears, sharing razors or tooth brushes with someone infected, needle sticks (especially in the medical setting with medical personnel who are treating Hep C persons), you get the picture.  Now, just as an example, the needle sticks in a medical setting, only occur in about 1 to 1 & 1/2 % of those who are stuck by a needle from an infected person, so you can see, the chances from these sources are very small.  

Also, again, very small likelihood, but possible, is 'rough sex' where there is damage, tearing, bleeding, anything that produces blood in both partners.  Again this method is very very low percentage , but it does exist.  Much more possible in that way are STDs - Hep C is NOT an STD.

The chances seem very good that you do not have Hep C, but IF you do, don't 'sweat the small stuff' follow up with treatment when your Dr recommends it, and go from there.  

Hep C is a very slow developing disease, so your doctor may not even recommend being treated for many years.  That is okay, too, as, by then, there will be even more effective, shorter duration threatments.

However, as I said above, I do not believe you will have that to think about, because, it certainly sounds like you are Negative (called undetected)  for Hep c.

Again, do not let the anxiety of this get to you!  Anxiety will not help!  You will have your results in a few days!  Hang in there!

Good Luck and God Bless!

Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your fast reply patra, i really appreciate for what you wrote in the reply which makes me feel a lot better!

Just a few quick questions,

1. when you mentioned "iF you had been exposed fairly recently, before the tests in France, it might not have been enough time to get an accurate RNA PCRresult", do you mean my second test in France was not accurate enough because i might had the exposure too recent when i had the second test? or do you mean the test i had couple days ago?

2. Do doctors always use a RNA PCR as a confirmatory test if they received a reactive result on an elisa antibody test? because when i was in france the docter just told me that i'm not infected when i had my second time blood drawn, he didn't tell me what kind of test he ordered

Thanks again, i'm crossing my fingers for the result on mionday....
Avatar universal
Sorry I would like to add up one more question, does the low cut off value also applies for the ICMA antibody test? Because I just found out my antibody tests are ICMA test, not Elisa antibody test. Can I also consider my cut off values as weakly positive or low cut off values?
Avatar universal
Don't worry about the timing as the RNA test will turn positive weeks before
the antibody test. With your signal-to-cutoff so low,  and your RNA test undetected, I am 99.9% sure the test you just had will also be undetected.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your reply! I will let you know about my PCR result as soon as I got it on Monday! It is just that my doctor in France didn't tell me what kind of test he ordered for the second time(maybe it was not  a PCR test), and this uncertainty is driving me crazy!!! All I can do now is hang on to my low cut off values. Thanks again!
Avatar universal
The idea of the doctor in France didn't use PCR as the second test and maybe I misheard him infected as not infected because of my poor French is fueling my anxiety up again....
Avatar universal
So usually the doctor will order a RNA PCR after he recieved a reactive HCV antibody test? I'm just not sure that the second test I had in France was a RNA PCR test...
Avatar universal
Anyone?? please help...
Avatar universal
Sorry to be so long responding.

1. Yes, I was referring to the FIRST testing, done in France.  It is now long enough that your current Dr probably wanted to verify those results.

2.  The antibody test only shows that you were exposed, and, at some time, had Hep C virus in your body.  It shows ONLY that, at some time, you were exposed.  It does not give any information about whether that virus is STILL active, in your body.

The next step is the HCV RNA PCR test to see if there is a viral load.  That is the definitive test to say whether or not you have an active virus viral load (and how much of a viral load) in your body NOW.  

The point of two tests, is IF there is NO Antibody, then there can be NO viral load, no virus.  That test is a simple test, and very inexpensive.

The HCV RNA PCR test is a much more complicated, and much more expensive test, so, it isn't done if there is no antibody present.  

Getting the Antibody test 1st saves time, saves money and gets an answer to the patient within a day.  The other test takes approximately 10 days to two weeks to complete and return the answer, so- why put everyone through that anxiety and expense as it is not needed in most patients.

I don't know what they call the HVC RNA PCR test in France, but yes, it sounds, to me, a non-medical person, like that is exactly what the test was, or the french equivelent at any rate, in order for him to be able to tell you that you were not infected.

3.  As to the ICMA test, I am not familiar with it and the only reference I found referred to the method of processing the blood - like the ELISA.

I would believe, personally (remember, I am not medically trained) based on the first and second testing sequence, that the Dr there DID do thenRNA PCr test, but the only way to know is to write for copies of those test results and have your doctor here review them.

Like Surfside Gal, I really think that you are Undetected, but it was wise to see a doctor here and get retested, like you did, just to be sure.

Monday will be here before you know it, so STOPE STRESSING YOURSELF OUT!  That was not yelling at you BTW, but the only way I have of showing strong emphasis.  As I said before,mand as SSG said, breathe, relax, seriously, quit thinking about all the negative things that MIGHT be, and concentrate on the positive things--you have been tested twice, there are really good treatments available if you should need treatment, this Forum is here with people to guide you and walk beside you every step of the way, if you need it, you are young and healthy which would make it much easier to defeat the virus on treatment IF you had to.

Anxiety is so negative to your whole being, physically and mentally.  Please don't do that to yourself!  Keep busy, focus on the positives in your life - your future school or job search or career, your family, etc, etc, etc.

It is going to be all right - no matter what answer you get!

Now, once again, deep breath...exhale....relax, and step into your next project!


Avatar universal
Thank you patra for your kindly and detailed respond. I've been thinking a lot. There's a little part of me telling  me to hope, it might be undetected on Monday, but at the same time the major part of me is telling me that, face it! The second test u had wasn't a PCR test and you misheard the doctor!  

It is really difficult to maintain a stable state of mind under this kind of tug of war, especially I don't think I would be able to afford the new meds since they are sky high expensive. But who knows, there might be cheaper drugs in a few years.

Anyways, I know I shouldn't be focusing on this before I get the result, but it is just deviating when I realized that I have hep c. Will keep you updated once I got the result from the doc on Monday. Thanks again
Avatar universal
Well, for my two cents worth, I believe the test you had was the PCR and, I believe you are going to be virus free, but, as I said before, IF you are not virus free, you are STILL going to be fine!  

As for th treatment (tx), if you have to have it, and your Ins doesn't cover it, the Company has helping programs, and the PAN Foundation is there to help, too!  Quit sweating BEFORE you get in the sauna!  (just a twist on saying quit worrying til you have a real reason to worry!)

If you have an anxiety problem, get your Dr to help you with that!  You truly are going to make yourself ill with all this anxiety!  .Especially, since, even if you have Hep C you are early in the disease, tx is so much easier than it used to be, there is financial assistance to get it, and you have this Community to support you through it!  now deep breath!,

You can do this!  Stop scaring yourself to death over something that probably is not ever ther, or, al the very worst, is completely treatable, with help available.

Monday will be here soon!

Avatar universal
Dear Patra & Surfsidegirl

I just got my test results back today and i can't wait to share my joy with you :

Anti-HCV NON REACTOVE(cut off 0.03)!!!!!!!!!  

The Dr. also did a test on my AST & ALT rate, they were within the normal range (18, 20), and all my WBC & RBC count are normal. Apparently the test results i had before they were false positives, it's just kind of hard to believe i tested positive for 3 TIMES and this time it came back negative. But who knows? they probably cross-reacted with some other antibodies in my body which I don't know, and with the negative antibody test & negative PCR i'm gonna put all this behind my mind now.

Anyways, thank you so so so much for your accompany at all time, i can't express how grateful i am and i really appreciate all the encouragements that you wrote me, they really helped me a lot when i was waiting for the results. I wish you guys the best!

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