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Positive for Hep C antibodies--what can I expect?

Hello to all, I'm new to this forum--I'm a 47 year old male, just got my blood test results back from a life insurance assessment and they tell me I've tested positive for exposure to Hep C.  My AST is 47, ALT 52 and GGTP is off the charts at 320.  After what I have read and heard, these numbers seem consistent with active Hep C presence.
I've never had any of the symptoms, and feel fine, but I know it can lie dormant for many years.
The only time I think I could have been possibly exposed would have been in hospital in India about 4 years ago.

How likely is a false positive for antibodies, and how likely is it for one's own body to fight it off?  Also if I need treatment, what can I expect?  Are the treatments effective?
I am reasonably fit and have plenty of energy, but this is a bit scary as I am newly married with a 16 month old little girl.  I've told my wife about the test results and she is worried, but supportive.  
I figure it's best to ask people who have been where I am for insight.  I'm a little scared by this.
Thanks for being here!
5 Responses
1815939 tn?1377991799
"How likely is a false positive for antibodies.....?"
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It is possible to have a false positive test. You need to get an appointment with your doctor and get further testing to determine if this was a false positive test or if it was positive. If it is positive for antibodies, that would mean you were exposed to Hep C at some point in your life. Then you need to be tested to determine if your body's immune system was able to fight off the infection or if you have a chronic Hep C infection.

"and how likely is it for one's own body to fight it off? "
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Approximately 20% of people do fight the disease off by themselves and do not develop chronic Hep C. The other 80% do develop chronic Hep C.

"Also if I need treatment, what can I expect?  Are the treatments effective?"
--------------------------------
The treatments are effective. You can be cured of Hep C.
The type of treatment will depend on 1) if you have chronic Hep C and 2) which Genotype you have if you do have chronic Hep C.

"I've never had any of the symptoms, and feel fine, "
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Many people do not have symptoms or, at least, they do not have symptoms that they attribute to Hep C.

"but I know it can lie dormant for many years."
------------------------
Hep C is never dormant. One either has Hep C or one does not have Hep C. A person may not know he/she has Hep C, but the actual Hep C is still there and it is not dormant.

"I am reasonably fit and have plenty of energy, but this is a bit scary as I am newly married with a 16 month old little girl.  I've told my wife about the test results and she is worried, but supportive."
---------------------------------
Most of us were quite worried and concerned when we were first diagnosed. However, first of all, you do not know if you have Hep C. You may have a false positive antibody test. Even if the antibodies are positive, your immune system may have fought the disease off. In the mean time, just take blood precautions. Hep C is spread by blood to blood contact. So basically, do not get your blood into your wife's blood stream or into your baby's blood stream. Cover cuts and wounds. Do not share tooth brushes, razors, nail clippers (they may have blood on them). Hep C is blood to blood. It is not a sexually transmitted disease. It is rarely transmitted by sex you would have to have blood exchange (both of you with bleeding open cuts/sores) in order for you to spread it to your wife.

I won't go into treatment other than to say there is treatment for Hep C and Hep C is curable. IF it turns out that you actually have chronic Hep C, then come back to the forum and let us know the Genotype. Then we can address the specific treatment.

Lab tests for Hep C and some information about them:

http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/hepatitis-c/tab/test


Avatar universal
Thanks for the concise information--it really does help set my mind at ease, a little.  
I'm headed for more tests, I'll hope for no virus count or a false positive, but if it is chronic I sure will have more questions.
Wishing the best to all here in their own struggles.

--Josh
1815939 tn?1377991799
It is normal to be worried, concerned, anxious. We all were. I know I barely slept at all for 2.5 weeks (after I was diagnosed with chronic Hep C). I had trouble finding accurate and current information so it seemed everything I was reading was doom and gloom. After I received more current information, I was in a lot better shape emotionally.

Here's hoping you had a false positive or your body fought the Hep C off. However, if not, keep in mind that Hep C is generally a rather slow moving disease. Most of us on the forum have had Hep C for decades. Many of us did not know we had it until recently.

Again, keep in mind that Hep C is treatable and it is curable. Many of us on the forum have treated, are in treatment, or are about to start treatment.   Many of us have been cured through the treatment regimens and others of us are waiting to find out if we are cured.

Again, best of luck.
Avatar universal
Where would I found out what's the most effective treatment for chronic hep c genotype 1? And does chronic just mean that you've had it for a long time? My friend has hep c so I am research mode trying to understand it better and trying to help him find a way to get a cure.
Avatar universal
Hi I feel your pain, I recently had a similar experience. the fist thing you should know is that there are drugs out there that CURE hep C in 12 to 24 weeks. The drugs are expensive but in my case they were covered by insurance. If that is not the case there is a drug called Harvoni that has a generic version available in India for around $1000 for the whole treatment. In the US the same brand name treatment costs $100,000! The reason being that India does not recognize the drug company's (Gilead) patent.
In answer to your other questions, it sounds like you are a "low risk factor" patient. In your case you have a big chance you either have fought off the virus on your own or the test was a false positive. The chance that you fought it off on your own is 30%. Find out what your antibody level was, if it was really low (like mine was) you have a 95% chance that you do not have the infection. Look on the CDC website for more on this.

The next test they should order for you is the RNA test to see if you have the virus. If it comes back negative you can order a "RIBA" test to see if it was a false positive or if you fought off the infection.
Good luck!!!!
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