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hep c infection

hi doctor.
I tested twice for hep c. once in january 23rd 2012 and it was negative.and second one was on march 20 and the result was interminate. my elisa test was low reactive and they did riba test  and it was positive.

I started having painfull urantion 10 days before the seconde testing for hep c  and the nurse said i might have ghoneria and chlemedia and she suggested to test for hep c.

I did the second hep c test at home.i collected my blood and sent it to the lab.its the only fda home approved self test kit for hep c.i ricived the result 10 days later and it was interminate.

ghoneria was negative and i did these test in clinic  but i took 10 days of antibiotic and now the burning sensation is gone.

so i am freaking out right now .the counsoular on the phone told me that interminate result means that iam turning from negative to positive.she sugested to do a RNA test to find out or wait for 1 month and then retest agian for elisa and riba.

i have to mention the second test i did was FDA home approved test kit and i did this before and its pretty relaible.
my question are.
1- how much is the chance that i turn positive?
2-should i start a treatment when i diagnosed.i heard the chance of clearing the virus is very high in early stages.

3-how long is the life expectancy with hep c.can i live a full life.?

thanks doctor.
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1760304 tn?1316453559
Dear masoudgc,

Thanks for writing in.

HCV antibodies usually develop within 3-6 weeks after acquisition of the virus. Hence the ELISA test done after this period is pretty reliable provided there are no co-existing autoimmune disorders or immunosuppression. However, RIBA is a more specific test and a positive RIBA with a negative ELISA may suggest a low level of antibodies.
1) Over a period of time, the infection may resolve if it is in the convalescent stage or the antibody titre may increase if you are now in the early phase of infection. The chances of turning positive cannot be exactly determined. So I would suggest you either get a HCV RNA tested or wait for one month and repeat the RIBA test.
2) HCV infection with liver damage is an indication for treatment and one has to look at the liver function test results, the HCV RNA titres and the genotype before deciding on the treatment. Treatment has best efficacy in acute symptomatic (ie with jaundice) phase which is not the situation here
3) Normally HCV infection causes slow and progressive liver damage over years. In the absence of other hepatotoxic agents significant liver damage and cirrhosis develops over 8-12years. However, well treated patients, in whom there is sustained suppression or eradication of the virus,  can expect a normal life expectancy.

Hope that this information helps and hope that you will get better soon.

Thank you for using MedHelp's "Ask an Expert" Service, where we feature some of world's renowned medical experts in their fields. Millions have benefitted from our service to get personalized advice for them and for their loved ones.

Best Regards,
Dr. Poorna Chandra
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A related discussion, Do I have my head in the sand? was started.
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