My father was diagnosed with Hep C two years ago. He went through all the treatment and is virus free now, but I am worried about a couple things. He had several heart surgeries prior to 1992 that involved blood transfusions so his doctor is pretty sure that he contracted it when he was very young or before age 18. My mom has never been tested, so I have no idea if she had contracted the virus, and she refuses to do so. I am worried that there may be a chance that I had could have it from mom if she contracted it from my dad. Please let me know if this is possible, I have a three year old little boy and a wonderful husband and I would hate to find out that they got it from me. Thanks
If your mother contracted Hep C from your dad, you could have also contracted it from either one of them growing up in the same household. Because your dad was diagnosed only two years ago and none of you would have known about what safe practices to follow and you don't know when your dad contracted this, I would get yourself tested. I was diagnosed in 2006 and also had a blood transfusion in 1984 along with other known risk behaviours prior to that. Therefore, my kids were all tested as a result and all would have been very late teens early twenties at the time. All were negative.
What I hope will be of comfort to you is that this is not an easily transmissible disease just from casual contact. There actually has to be blood to bloodstream transmission. Partnered couples are not required to use protection for sexual activities and in most cases a partner of someone with HCV will not and has not contracted Hep C and the kids almost always test negative.
Your chances of being infected are quite low but not zero. You should get tested to clear that from your mind and hopefully your mother will be encouraged by your actions to do likewise. Your mother can pose a risk, although quite small, to your father so she should know if she has it and perhaps it can be eliminated from their lives entirely IF it exists OR they will know what they are facing.
IF she has Hep C, she would not necessarily need to do treatment immediately. She would need a biopsy to determine extent of any liver damage and with new drugs going through FDA approval now that improve cure rates and potentially shorten treatment, she would probably be advised to wait for that if possible. But that's putting the cart before the horse. I mention it to address any fear she has that if she's found positive, that she'll need to plunge immediately into treatment. Only if she actually has Hep C and her liver damage is advanced enough to warrant it. On that score alone, she should get tested simply to eliminate that very remote but still not non-existent possibility.
When you get tested, you are getting tested for the existence of the antibody. No antibody, no Hep C. If the antibody is present, that tells you that either you had Hep C and you cleared it (around 15% clear it on their own) or that you have Hep C virus in your blood. To determine which you'd fall into, it would require the next test, the PCR, which tests for actual virus in the blood. So your antibody test is first.
The three children I raised are all negative and I estimate I had it 20+ years when diagnosed. I hope that gives you some comfort.
I'm confused about why your mom won't get tested, especially seeing how concerned you are. Really though, the antibody test is no big deal. Just tell your regular doctor your concern and he will order one for you and then you won't have to worry about it any more... or at least you'll know what to do next. Not knowing is the hardest part of dealing with anything in life.
To ease your thoughts a little you should not be worried. A little background on my history. I received many blood transfusions in 1981 was I was born. I was born prematurely and had many health problems. I was diagnosed over a year ago, 2 years married at 27. My husband and I had an active sex life and sometimes I bleed during intercourse. He has been tested and he is negative for Hep C. Doctors says its very rare for partners to contract the virus. My sister also got tested and she is negative. We shared everything as children (toothbrush, razors etc.)and she is fine. I hope that has eased your concerns.
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