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Hep C antibody positive at 6 weeks, need help.

Hello all,

I am 23 years old, about 6 months ago I had risk sex with a partner ( blood involved), he is HIV/Hep C positive. at 6 weeks after exposure I had varicella on my arms and chest and legs, so I went to get all STD test, the Hep C antibody test come back positive and HCV RNA come back negative. So I followed up other tests.
At 10 weeks, I test HCV RNA which come back Negative( I didn't test for antibody at week 10)
12 weeks, Hep C antibody and HCV RNA both negative.
6 month after exposure Hep C antibody and HCV RNA both negative.
There are one thing I have to mention, after weeks 10, I went back to my home country, the test kits here we use is different and we produce our own test kit, the doctor here told me the test kit here is not sensitive enough as they have in the US.
Can anyone tell me do I really have Hep C? Why I got positive antibody result when I was only in the US, but not for now? should I keep worrying and go for another test at 1 years mark? Whats the longest window period for Hep C antibody?
5 Responses
Avatar universal
P.S  thanks for all answers.
683231 tn?1467323017
Testing positive for the hep c antibody only means you may have been exposed at some point in you life to the hep c virus. Antibodies are made by your own body when it fights a virus. Antibodies are not the virus they are a part of your own immune system.

When people test positive for hep c antibodies the next step is to see if they are currently infected. The test to confirm if you are currently infected is the HCV RNA by PCR test which your have taken and had a not detected result.

Because you were not detected for the hep c virus on the HCV RNA test that means you do not have hep c and no additional testing is needed.

There is nothing that needs to be done or that can be done about antibody tests.

As I said antibodies are not the virus. For example if you ever had the measles or were immunized against the measles you will have measles antibodies. The job of antibodies it to prevent future infections. The problem with hep c is our antibodies are not able to defend us against the hep c virus. If that was possible there would already be a vaccine to fight against hep c infection.

But anyway as your HCV RNA test result was not detected you do not have hep c. There is noting you need to do.
9 Comments
Fullyliving am actually experiencing the same thing, had positive anti body in December 2015 and till now i still test negative with my health getting worse by the day...
If you tested positive back in 2015...and till now you are still negative, then I am pretty sure the test went wrong. No way, No how, believe science. I was worried because of the window period of mine was kind short, if I were you I will stop worry.
michale5305

You should see your doctor about your symptoms where you say your health is getting worse every day. You tested negative for hep c so that is not the cause of your problems. Also most people with hep c do not experience much in the way of symptoms for decades, When symptoms do appear they are due to advanced liver disease caused by hep c but that only happens after decades of infection.

See you doctor so your health problems can be diagnosed and hopefully your doctor will be able to help once it is determined what is causing your problems.

Good luck
did all i could noting was found , not even a common bacterial infection , yet my liver hurts whenever i overwork myself...my eyes slowly discolors.... and lots more , all this started off few months after my risk exposure , i have got noting else to suspect if not HCV and my risk exposure was a needle prick , a deep one ....
Yellow eyes could be a liver problem of some kind but your Bilirubin would also be elevated. Do you have any abnormal test results? Are your liver enzymes elevated? What has your doctor said?

I had hep c for 37 years and liver cirrhosis for 9 years I only know I have cirrhosis because I had a liver biopsy. I have no noticible symptoms no liver pain.

Could you be having a muscle cramp from over working? I often get a cramp in my side when I run and have not run recently.

If you test negative for the hep c virus antibodies you do not have hep c.
Liver Enzymes are within normal range and i believe body chemistry are not the same , the way it reacted to you would be the same with me plus you had it for 37 years while am just getting started and no it wasnt a cramp its a stabbing disturbing pain behind my ribcage never felt anything like that before , i believe as it took all this year to advance to the present day treatment there are more to be understood about this virus , i have been healthy as a horse till that needle prick, now i deal with fatigue every now and then... before that when someone says they had a headache it seems strange because i dont use to have those!!  but now i deal with headaches all the way
And yeah my doctor said am fine lol yet i feel like crap!!
Well in all th 37 years I was infected I did not know the only reason I found out was because I donated blood. Otherwise I probably would still not know.

I do not know the cause for your health problems obviously but they are not due to hep c as you test negative for the virus. I hope you can work with your doctor to find the cause but it seems hep c is not the problem.

Just a quick question you said you tested positive at one time for the Hep c antibodies but later tested negative. Was that the HCV RNA by PCR test that tests for the virus itself? Or was it a later antibody test?

If it was the HCV RNA test and your result was not detected that is conclusive proof you do not have hep c. If it was a later antibody test that could mean your first antibody test was a false positive.
Great news, I got tested in April at the best liver hospital here(STD program hospital), and all RNA Antibody test come back negative, the doctor who sees me is the most experienced one here, and probably one of the best doctor here, she said my first test probably went wrong somehow, or I myself may have cleaned the virus itself, there are less people in the world will be antibody body negative even thought they were infected with hep C before after they cleaned the virus themselves, so I have no idea if I was ever infected the Hep C virus or not.
But thanks god, maybe I was lucky.

michale, do not worry and keep live your life positively, I dont know if you are ever infected with Hep C or not, but the thing is, theres nothing found in your blood system right now, and be grateful. god will bless you.
683231 tn?1467323017
You said you had varicella do you mean you had the illness many have in childhood "Chicken Pox"?

Having an outbreak of small itching blisters has nothing to do with a hep c infection.

Most people have no symptoms from hep c the most common complaint is tiredness. After many years to decades some people may begin to have symptoms not from hep c as much as from the damage to the liver that was caused by being infected for many years. The symptoms would be from liver disease.

This is why hep c is called a silent disease most people do not know they are infected.
20 Comments
Hi,
Thanks for you reply Flyinlynn.

Yes, it is exactly looks like varicella, also know as "chicken pox", I had chicken pox when i was child. This also worries me where the infection come from ( as you may know for most people they only got chicken pox once in their life time). It was on my legs and arms and chest. It is nothing like a small outbreak itching blisters, it was quit bad I had to recover all the spots around more than 1 month and yet its still leaving the marks.

Could it be too soon for tested show up real result for HCV RNA test? it was negative in 10 weeks, 12weeks and 6 month, as you know the virus leaves may go up and down during the acute period. ( The RNA test kits are different than the one use in the US as well, it is produced by our own company, and maybe less sensitive as the doctor told me.)

The antibody tested positive 6 weeks after exposure while i was still in the US as a student. But after I went back to my country it was negative by 12 weeks and 6 month. Is it because of the test kits here are not sensitive enough as the doctor here said( and I know in the US the labs and test kits are better compare to here ) , as antibody levels may go up and down in people who were newly infected? Or is it more likely I got false positive for the first test i did in the US?

I know 6 month is a good time for a reliable result, but I tested HCV antibody positive for the first one, and due to the varicella I had and the exposure I had, everything is still worried me.
Flyinlynn gave you good advice. Protect yourself in the future, you were lucky.
Is that mean I really got a false postive antibody test at 6 weeks after exposure?
For HCV RNA test:

http://www.hepatitisc.uw.edu/go/screening-diagnosis/acute-diagnosis/core-concept/all  

this site says The HCV RNA levels typically peak 6 to 10 weeks after infection (“plateau phase”) and remain near these peak levels for about 40 to 60 days (Figure 5).  Detection of HCV RNA during acute infection is not entirely reliable as HCV RNA levels may fluctuate significantly during this period—in some instances HCV RNA levels fall below detectable levels. At the onset of symptoms, however, detectable HCV RNA levels are uniformly present.

Should i believe my HCV RNA test result? and should i go for further testing? I am worried a lot...a lot anxieties, in my country in most situations are not allowed infected people to get a decend job ( it is abuse of human right, but we cannot do nothing about it) even most of the hospital are not taking infected patients for surgery( in my country the prejudice are very very bad for people who living the infection virus, it is very sad to think about it.). I have been home for most of the time during the last 6 month and thinking about my life is going to be over...
You have no virus detected in your blood, if you had it still it would have shown up on the HCV RNA test, it didn't. Your body successfully fought it off. Keep a copy of the negative test if you need to prove you don't have it. Be safe and thankful.
Your HCV RNA test proves conclusively you do not have Hep C. The antibody test it to screen for possible current infection only.

Most people do not experience initial symptoms of hep c infection they do not experience a symptomatic acute phase.

Should i believe my HCV RNA test result?
Yes

and should i go for further testing?
No

But the single best person to ask this question is a doctor.

We here are not medical professionals. We are a community of patients who either had or have hep c. This is a support group for people undergoing treatment or living with the aftermath of long term hep c infection.
Most people will test positive for antibodies to hep c for the rest of their lives especially if they were known to have been infected. I am not sure how that would work for a false positive.

All I do know is even though my HCV RNA says not detected I will test positive for hep c antibodies for the rest of my life. So for that reason I will never have a hep c antibody test there is no reason to as I know what the result will be.

I am aware having positive antibody tests can be a problem in parts of the world but there is nothing that can be done about positive hep c antibody test results. It is not an illness or a medical condition to have hep c antibodies. Only testing positive on the HCV RNA is a medical condition that today can be treated and cured.
So basically it means I was never infected with Hep C because as you said the hep C antibody will still test positive even the RNA are negative.  

But why Sandi said I cleared off the infection? if i cleared the infection I would still test positive for antibody, but I am not positive for antibody except the first test i took back in july.

im confused... sorry

Thank you.
and could smoke weed affect the result for antibody or RNA test? I have been smoke weed say almost everyday to reduce my anxiety since then...

thanks again.
Sorry, I thought the antibody test had come back positive, if the antibody test was negative the second time, the first time must have been a false positive.
Thanks.
Smoking marijuana does not effect HCV RNA test results.

What does your doctor say? Probably that you do not have hep c.

Your doctor is the expert here I would believe your doctor
  
The doctor told me that the test kits is maybe not as sensetive as they have in the US, and if I didnt have any risk behavior I should be fine...but the problem is I had risk behavior...so...?
Thats all he said to me... the visit was like 5 minutes because of a lots people there... the hospital here is very bad..
I cannot explain your antibody tests one positive and the other negative but the antibody tests do not matter. Your HCV RNA test was not detected you do not have hep c.

Hep c requires blood to blood contact for transmission. Did you have hep c infected blood enter your blood stream?

But bottom line no matter what you experienced that you believe was a risk your RNA test proves conclusively you do not have hep c.
Yes, it was blood to blood contact. I had his blood contacted my cuts.
Contacting cuts does not mean it entered your blood stream. Were the cuts wet and weeping?

Even a medical person who experiences a needle stick involving a patient with known hep c the odds of becoming infected are only 1.8% and that is with forcing hep c infected blood inside the body so your odds would be that much less.
It was during the sex... on my private area.
I was bleeding too..
But anyway bottom line you were not detected on the test for the virus the HCV RNA so you do not have hep c
18601474 tn?1466188088
Hi there! You have received great answers from our community members about testing, but in case you'd like more info, this MedHelp article explains how Hep C is diagnosed. http://www.medhelp.org/hepatitis-c/articles/Diagnosing-Hepatitis-C/2273
Avatar universal
Guys i really need your input into my case. I had unprotected sex with a CSW about 3 months ago. Since 2 months, i have joint pain in my thumb and shoulder. Is this Hepatitis C ?
2 Comments
See my answer to your new question
Get tested is best thing to do to find out. it has been very long time for you so in my own experience your test result will 99% be conclusive. And the 1% odd stands for if you have immune system problems or you recently received big surgery.
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