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What are possible Hep C re-infection possibilities?

I recently finished a course of Harvoni, which is a new targeted anti-viral medication with a 95% success rate. However, being the impulsive fool I am, I decided to shoot up. I was given a clean needle but it got mixed up with one of my own needles that had been used perhaps..a month ago. Because I got them confused, I rinsed the fit out with very hot water over several times.
My anxiety relates to the unlikely possibility of re-infected myself with an old needle. The crucial information relates to HOW LONG can the Hep C virus survive inside a rinsed needle? (and please no serves you right ignorant jesus freaks looking to beat up on people who are scared and vulnerable, just a health professional will suffice)
Many Thanks
3 Responses
1747881 tn?1546175878
"a health professional will suffice"

No health pro's here just patients.

Have a great day
7469840 tn?1409845836
Was it a new unused needle a month ago? If you were virus free at the time (and I think most people are by that time) and if it was a new needle you should be ok.

Obviously it is a good idea to get rid of all old sharps, or sterilize. I threw out toothbrushes, razors, etc.

There are no on staff health professionals here, just fellow hepc people.

683231 tn?1467323017
Hi just another person who was formerly infected with hep c for 37 years with cirrhosis for now 9 years because of my hep c infection.

I don't think anyone can quantify your risk. It is  theoretically possible in a protected environment hep C virus can survive for a while. But yes if the needle was from late in your treatment there "probably" was no virus in your blood.

The only way to know for sure would be to wait for a bit and have the HCV RNA by PCR test the test for the virus. You probably know there would be no reason to test for antibodies as we all will test positive for antibodies for life so the only way to know if we are reinfected is to check for the virus.

One indication of a returned infection could also be elevated liver enzymes but as you are using I am not sure if that alone would raise your liver enzyme numbers. So if you know that the drugs you use do not raise your liver enzyme test results you could try just having a liver enzyme test. As long as your ALT and AST remain in normal range you probably are not reinfected.

So other than suggesting you work on getting clean so you never have to worry about this or any other blood born virus not to mention the other health risks you face maybe try to insure you get rid of all your used works.

But I guess you probably know that too.

From the CDC

https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/cfaq.htm#cFAQ36

"How long does the Hepatitis C virus survive outside the body?
The Hepatitis C virus can survive outside the body at room temperature, on environmental surfaces, for up to 3 weeks."

This is for an undisturbed surface yours was protected in the needle. Water rinsing is not adequate to kill the virus. A bleach water rinse could conceivably kill the virus then rinse enough to clear the bleach.

Good luck to you

1 Comments
Hi there,

As flyinlynn says, the virus can live up to 3 weeks on surfaces. Since anything that touches blood can be contaminated -- albeit a very small chance of infection from razors, etc. -- hepC4sandi's suggestion to dispose of everything after SVR is a good one. Here is more about Hep C transmission in case it helps you:
http://www.medhelp.org/forums/HIV-Prevention/show/79

Good luck. We sincerely hope you weren't reinfected. Please stop back by to let us know what happened!
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