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False Positives
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False Positives

My husband had real back problems. Went for MRI..they suggested test for anemia..which uncovered elevated liver enzymes...test done (not sure which one) for Hep C and came back positive.  I was tested next day...I am negative.

He has never had a blood transfusion, used intravenous drugs or needles of any kind and has never been sexually promiscuous.  He is an extremely "low" risk for this disease.  He was taking tons of advil for 3 months for his back before the MRI and the blood tests.  They used the same blood for the hep c test that they used to check for anemia only a week later.  

We have been married for a year and a half and have had sex 4-5 times per week for that period and I tested negative last week.

Do false positives happen often? Because we just don't believe he really has Hep C.   What could they find in an MRI of his lumbar spine that would indicate tests for anemia and how does any of this apply to his back pain?

Thank you for you rtime.
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9648_tn?1290094807
Assuming the test was for antibodies, which is generally the first test, they need to see if there is active virus present, Some people who are exposed to the virus do fight it off and it is  possible he is one of them.

I don't know if the antibody test gives false positives, but a viral load test will tell you for sure if the virus is present. Since his liver enzymes are up, that does  indicate something is going on.

There are a whole lot of people who have hepatitis C who don't know how they got it. I think I got it from a needle stick from a nurse when I was a little kid. I've been married for over 22 years and my husband doesn't have it, neither do both of my children who were cesarean deliveries.

BTW, there are no doctors in this forum, just us patients.
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Avatar_n_tn
False positives DO happen! Having the antibody test come back positive isn't cause for panic. Next step is to get what's called an RT-PCR, or just PCR. The PCR is basically testing directly for evidence of the virus. Still, these tests have had false positives too.

A quantitative PCR with genotyping is the way to go with this. If you husband has the hep c virus, this will give you the viral load and which of 6 main "families" it comes from; information useful for treatment decisions if there is an infection.

Around 20% of people exposed to the virus have immune systems that successfully fight it off (and they show positive for antibodies).

Advil can produce humongous spikes in liver enzyme levels.

-Michael
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you all.  So, actually this could have come from any needle from any medical treatment he's had done over the past 2 decades?  Geez...that's the thing the symptoms are generic...the differences in experience with the virus all over the map.  He's seeing a "blood" doctor "hematologist" tomorrow and making him do the PCR test.  He had accupunture for his back..but that was only 6-8 weeks ago and could something so recent cause the positive?  IF it turns out it really is POSITIVE...then will they be able to determine if it's a new infection or something he's been carrying for years? I know...we'll probably never know.  The treatment scares me silly...how do they determine if he should undergo that craziness?
Again...thank you.
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Avatar_n_tn
the patients question is actually ...Is It POSSIBLE TO HAVE HEP C EVEN THOUGH RESULTS ARE NEG?   that's actually the oposite of your question but the answer is the same either way on false negatives or false positives...
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Avatar_n_tn
you got some great advice from the above two posts...i don't think i could add anything to it, just agree with it...get the test mike suggested and that will tell you alot...then if it shows positive get a liver biopsy (not as bad as it sounds) to find out the extent of the damage...c scans can't tell you everything about the condition of the liver and either can the blood tests/"hepatic panel"...ONLY THE BIOPSY can give you the correct measure of scaring that the hep c has done...

(the biopsy is like a shot in the liver area that sucks up a little peice of liver and analyzizes it)...this is how you find out what stage and grade the damage is.

based on this info you and the dr decide how to proceed with treatment...do alot of research yourself on treatment ideas as there are various opinions out there, some good, some not...come here alot and we can help you out as well...

i do pray for your false positive however!!!  sandi
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

i found the same question you ask answered by a dr on this forum's pay service...here is his responce to "false positives"...


http://www.medhelp.org/perl6/hepatitis/messages/30446a.html

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also,here are some trusted sites to start out with for good information...cut and paste


http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/hepatitis_C.asp

http://www.hepnet.com/nih/schiff.html

http://www.hepatitisneighborhood.com/content/message_boards_and_chat/chat_521.aspx

http://www.hivandhepatitis.com/hep_c.html

http://hepatitis-central.com/hcv/liver/toc.html

http://hepatitis-central.com/hcv/hepatitis/hcvtoc.html

https://www.aasld.org/eweb/StartPage.aspx

http://hepatitisdoctor.com/

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/hepatitisc.html



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Avatar_n_tn
I just wanted to add that the chances of you getting the virus sexually are very low, 1 to 2%. However sharing shavers and toothbrushes should be a no no until you are sure. I join the others in hoping he tests negative for the virus.   Joni
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Avatar_n_tn
You guys are great....he went to hematologist today..the MRI found what he said was "active bone marrow"...whatever that is.  Anyway this doc said his bone marrow is fine..so back to the Gen Pract for an appointment with a Gastroenterologist to check on the Liver.  BUT FIRST....HVC RNA OR PCR test.

You know what guys?  He's never ever had surgery, been in the hospital for any reason...gotten blood, used hypdermics for anything...but

When his back was hurting so bad he went to a chiropractor who also did accupuncture (once) that was about 2 months ago.  Then, some friends recommended an accupuncturist who is supposed to be one of the best ones in the area and had accupuncture 2 times.  The virus shows up within 2-4 weeks doesn't it?  I suppose its possible unless some test will tell us he's been carrying it around for 20 years.  

I want you all to know how much I appreciate your taking your time to respond. It's helped a lot and I will be back when we know for certain either way...cause if it's positive for SURE...I'll really seek your advice and information.
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