I will *try* to keep this short. I had a high ALT about 2 weeks ago when I did a routine physical and my doctor recommended I get a hep test - I came back with antibodies for A & B but apparently my antibody test was positive for C. Completely shattered me, as I am very healthy 39 year old that takes good care of myself and have never done any drugs, etc. Well, I did a RNA viral load count test and that came back on Friday completely undetectable. I am fortunate in that I have a family member who is best friends with a very good hepatologist I shared all my results and she was really helpful in walking me through everything - which I felt would be good for me to share with folks (this does not mean you should not see you hepatologist).
Basically in my case she said it could mean a couple things:
1) I could have just recently contracted the virus (2-3 weeks ago at the dentist or during my full physical blood test). In this case I need to do full viral load test again in 6 months as the viral load test can fluctuate a lot from one day to the next.
2) My Antibody test was false positive so I am being asked to do a full antibody test again this week
3) I am one of those lucky ones that had been exposed to it a while back but it did not develop into a chronic infection (85% of the patients do go on to develop this).
While no news is good news in my case, I am obviously now in a waiting period for the next 6 months and just hopefully that it is either Option 2 or Option 3. She was also very kind and walked me through treatment options. Essentially if you have chronic Hep C and are not in phase 3 or 4 of your infection, your best bet is to wait for another 6-9 months. Some key changes coming soon:
- Genotype 2-3 are moving towards a full injection-less treatment and by the end of the year this should pass where you can get your 24 week treatment without majority of the nasty side effects caused by interferon (just daily pills that are >90% effective).
- Genotype 1 sometime in the next 6 month will move from clinic trial to a full treatment that will reduce the time of treatment from 48 weeks (current path) down to 12 weeks, though still with Interferon and a couple other drugs.
I think the news for treatment seems to be encouraging as I have read through quite a few posts and it seems that the hardest part about Hep C is really the prolonged side effects as a result of a very long treatment on interferon.
While I am in the wait-and-see phase and hopeful that I won't need treatment or have the infection, I wanted to share information with this board in the event you find it usefulf. And do certainly try to talk to you hepatologist about new treatment options and what is right for you.
Swift treatment, speed recovery, and happy normal living to all.