Hepatitis C Community
Hep C antibodies but no virus in blood now whathappens?
About This Community:

This forum is for questions about medical issues and research aspects of Hepatitis C such as, questions about being newly diagnosed, questions about current treatments, information and participation in discussions about research studies and clinical trials related to Hepatitis. If you would like to communicate with other people who have been touched by Hepatitis, please visit our new Hepatitis Social/Living with Hepatitis forum

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Hep C antibodies but no virus in blood now whathappens?

I am pregnant with my 3rd child. After my initial blood workup my Ob/Gyn told meI tested positive for Hep C antibodies. I went back for followup blood tests and they came back thatI do not have any virus in my blood. My liver function also came back normal. I have been all over the map with my emotions. I dont know how I contracted it, or how long ago. My best guess is when I had my navel pierced about 12 years ago. My Dr. said she will test me a few more times during the pregnancy and I will have to be tested periodically. Does this mean I have it definitely, or that I was exposed to it but my immune system knocked it out? Is there a way to test the amount of antibodies to see how long I have had it. Is it all a waiting game from here on out?

J
Related Discussions
54 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I believe it's 15% of the people clear HCV on their own.  Sounds like you have a good immune system and that it cleared the virus for you.  I'm saying this based on your comment that you have no viral load. You will always test positive for the antibodies.

Best wishes to you and here's to hoping you have an easy pregnancy.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Thank you so much for your response. Is there a way for the virus to "hide" in plain sight so to speak? My Dr. mentioned "reactivation"...I guess I need to make an apt with my primary Dr. and find out more, but I know from experience that going to people who have "been there" in a particular situation is usually more helpful than going to the "experts".

J
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
It does sound like you cleared it on your own. Once you have antibodies you always will. It is the same as if you have had a vaccine for a disease. You then have the antibodies for that disease but not the actual disease. If you have HCV the disease it will show up in a viral load test which yours is negative, but like Susan said you should check how sensaive that test actually was. I also tested negative on a test but the more sensative test showed me to be positive. I'm betting you are one of the lucky ones that your body cleared the HCV on its own. LL
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
First, congratulations on your pregnancy!

Second, don't let your fears about Hepatitis C ruin your enjoyment this pregnancy (I know, I know...easier said than done).  The good news is, they didn't dedect a viral load.  That could very well mean that you're one of the lucky 15% who clear it on their own without treatment.  

I would strongly urge you to obtain a copy of that viral load test (it's called a PCR).  There are several PCR tests with varying lower ranges.  For example, a recent PCR test I took came back as "undetectable," but my relief was short-lived when I found out that the lower level of the test was 600 IU/mL. A more senstive test revealed that I do have an active infection (albeit with an extremely low viral load).  There are tests that measure as low as 2 IU/mL.  If you test negative on one of those, that's a great sign.  So the important thing right now is for you to get a copy of that PCR test and find out how sensitive a test was used on you. If it wasn't very sensitive, request another test.

I don't want to scare you. Even if you do have an active infection, it's not the end of the world.  But let's assume the best and start by verifying the sensitivity of the test.  That's the starting point for you right now.  

Best wishes to you.

Susan
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I agree,,,looks like you beat it and will only test postive for antibodies.  I would take another test in future for reassurance on the viral load and then move on and not worry.  Probably the only way,,,you could catch again if you are negative now is by being reinfected.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for the information. I am feeling better as far as the pregnancy is concerned, and I dont have to immediately test my kids(still little guys). I will get a copy of that test and make sure the most sensitive one is done. If this only affected me that would be one thing but knowing I may have given it to my kids is heartbreaking.

J
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I want to believe this study:
http://www.natap.org/2005/HCV/010505_02.htm
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I presume that they did both a qualitative and a quantitative PCR test. if the qual comes back negative and it is a very sensitive one, you do not have the  active virus.
If the quantitative is negative or within range, and the qual is positive you have the virus at a very low level. There is no reactivation as far as studies suggest.
I believe this term comes about from using tests that were not sensitive enough, thus not detecting very low viral load. Then one day the immune system can't hold the level anymore and the virus replicates more thus showing up in  later years. But the person was never truly negative to begin with. If both the tests mentioned are negative repeatedly, there is no "reactivation".
That term is not used by researchers as much anymore.
As far as how you contracted it, if you do manicures/pedicures with the salon's tools, that is one possibiltiy. sharing razors or toothbrushes, and some invasive procedure that used instruments that were not properly sterilized, also.
There was a case where patients were contacted to get tested for hcv because the sterilizing machine had failed to properly reach the proper temperature and the tech failed to notice it. Little things like that. Just don't worry uneccessarily. ;-]
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I had to run off to work yesterday and didn't have the time to tell you "way to go" for finally getting your lab work done. I know you will be fine, just like your hubby is. Another two weeks before I find out, maybe we will find out the same time. Anyway, think positively, alright?

Mattie
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hi Mattie,,,,Thanks and yes,,,,maybe we can share the good news together in a week or 2.  Hows your hubby getting along these days?  I hope great!  I will be thinking of you this week!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
He's doing fantastic, thanks for asking. We are making the big trip back to the city today for his monthly check-up at the Transplant Clinic. He continues to get stronger and is putting on weight daily but now also has a cold. In the great scheme of things, we are happy and thriving and continue to move forward. Have a great day.

Mattie
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
iI just found uot by my doctor that I carry the antibodies(on a low scale) for Hep c, Does this mean I once had it? I went for more thorugh tests today... should I be panicked?
Tammy
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
sorry, for the poor spelling I am a little nrevous today!
Tammy
Blank
217229_tn?1192766004
TAMMYS

First - if you have ANY detectable virus level - no matter how small... Then you have HepC.

However --- if you ONLY test postitive for the antibodies of HepC --- but no viral load at all - then you have cleared the HepC virus.

The first test you will normally take is:

A hepatitis panel

If you come back positive, they will do a couple more blood tests:

1 - to find the GENOTYPE
2 - to find the VIRAL LOAD
3 - to find your ALT, AST Bilirubin and other Liver functions and overall health.

If your viral load comes back less than detectable, you are considered UNDETECTABLE.

If you viral load comes back in ANY amount detectable - then you will be given several options... Treat - wait - etc.

If you come back with a VIRAL LOAD --- my suggestion is to research this forum... JANIS AND FRIENDS (another website - you can google it) and HCV advocate... Those are probably my favorites...

There is a lot of information to be found - you will get overloaded. Take your time...

Take a deep breath.

Do not let a doctor push you into immediate treatment until you know what you are getting into. There are a lot of options - a lot of things you NEED TO KNOW - before you do anything. OK?

From this point on - your health is in your own hands. Please take care of it.

It is nice to meet you - and I wish the best for you.

Please post NEW questions on new threads... This original thread is from 2005 - so some folks may not even see it. Please ask new questions - that's what we are here for.

Most folks I ask them to please read the forum for about 3 months back --- so they can get "caught" up on who is who --- what is going on --- and the basic information shared...

Don't worry if you dont' understand it all... You will eventually get it... It's like learning a new language --- but you can do it.

Many hugs,

Meki
Blank
288609_tn?1240100356
I was first tested back in 1987 after an exposure at work. Initially they were calling it non specific A & B. Later on they said I had the antibodies for Hep C and it was a good thing because I had been exposed but now I was immune. That was a long time ago and they did not know much. I have had 2 kids and a busy life but when I got tested for another exposure 20 years later I had it already with an active VL  of 360,500 or so. I have started TX now because of other autoimmune things that were coming up probably from the now Chronic Hep C. So I don't know if I was miss diagnosed at first or it reactivated or had a later exposure? I don't think the later but it really doesn't matter. I was able to have healthy children and lead a fairly normal life.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Fyi.  You are NEVER immune to hep C.  The antibodies from a past infection are NO

help in preventing future infection.  

A VL of 360,500 is very low so your chance of successful treatment is higher.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I was tested (EIA) twice by two different labs and was found to be anti-HCV positive both times. Doc followed up with an RIBA to confirm results of EIAs. RIBA came back negative. They will do a 3rd round of tests: a third EIA and a second RIBA.

My question: Is it possible to have the hep C antibodies even if the EIA is not confirmed by the RIBA?  What does the RIBA test for?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
If your husband was told that he has the anti-bodies of hep c. should his wife be concerned. or be tested.
Blank
476246_tn?1310999221
Personally, I had my whole family tested.

Marcia
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
i was tested twice for hep c, and the blood bank said i had hep c. then went and got tested at the health dept. they said i had it, so i went to my gi doc and he did all kind of blood testing. all the test came back and said i do not carry the hep c virus. i had both the qualitative and the quantitative pcr test done. can anyone tell me if i should get a 2nd opinion.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I got hep c at 17 now i am 53  all tests over the years said neg but recently said positive.. liver is normal  is it pos that my ex got it. what should I do.
Blank
87972_tn?1322664839
Hi Sassenach,

You’ll need to be a bit more specific as to the type of tests used; there are many different tests for HCV.

It is likely you have been getting the HCV antibody tests, unless they were ordered by a liver specialist in the past. If psotoive for antibodies only, no further action is required on your part.

The test for active virus is the ‘HCV RNA by PCR’ test; if an antibody test is reactive/positive, then further, confirmatory testing is required.

If you like, ask for hard copies of previous tests, and someone in here will help interpret them. Best of luck to you—

Bill
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
A reactive screening test AND neg riba means a false pos screening test.  the screening test is very SENSITIVE for antibodies so it can detect antibodies other
than HCV.  the Riba test is very SPECIFIC for HCV antibody so if that is neg, then
the screening test was a false pos.

Blank
Avatar_f_tn
if you are positive for antibodies only do yo still  have to take precautions like you had it..

everything else is negative...  what about hep c and dry mouth
Blank
87972_tn?1322664839
If you are HCV antibody positive, RNA negative, you do not have the virus; nothing else has to be done or considered.

You now still have antibodies for the flu last year; and perhaps the measles or chicken pox you had as a child. They are nothing but ‘fingerprints’ of the virus that remain as part of your immune surveillance.

Antibodies are produced by your own body; they are not an illness by any measure.

No precautions are necessarily other than to avoid risky behavior that could expose you to a new source of infection. Previous exposure and subsequent antibody production in regards to HCV does not confer immunity; if you are exposed again, you can become infected again.

Bill
  
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
What is a high PCR viral load? How high is high and how low is it you don't have to worry about?
Sandy
Blank
87972_tn?1322664839
Sandy, the cutoff for low viral load is now 400,000 IU/mL; this was established at the 2007 EASL:

".... the cut-off of >400 000 IU/mL identified the greatest difference in SVR rates between patients with LVL and HVL... (70% vs 43%, vs 63% vs 43% for , and...60% vs 43% for )..."

http://www.natap.org/2007/EASL/EASL_41.htm

Some patients report HCV viral loads in excess of 50,000,000 IU/mL (LOG 7.7).

“…how low is it you don't have to worry about?

This depends largely on the individual situation, but a viral load for someone not on antiviral therapy should certainly be <615 IU/mL to be considered undetectable for virus.

--Bill
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Please help. I have tested positive for Hep C antibodies, but my HCV RNA test came back negative. My doctor said that I'm one of the lucky ones who cleared the virus spontaneously, but she made an appointment for me to see a liver specialist anyways (it is in two months!)
I did a lot of research on internet hoping to read similar stories, instead I find information that even if you test negative for the viral load in your blood, you still might have it in your liver.
I'm so confused and disappointed right now... Please help me.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
You covered it all. I was tested positive for Hep C by my primary care doctor. My wife said lets get a second opinion from a reputable liver specialist. I went a gave 11 tubes of blood. The blood was used for 25 liver tests. Some tests had mutiple tests within. I also had a CT scan of my abdomen area. The results came back: antibody to HCV, virus undetectably by PCR.    
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
congratulations you do not have hep c. Either you were exposed and your immune system won the battle and fought it off or you had a false positive antibody test. If you were exposed you will always have antibodies which means you can't donate blood. Either way, the PCR came back negative and you have no active hep c that can harm you. Celebrate!
-Dave
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
So my bf told me he tested positive for hep c antibodies but no virus was detected. Am I at risk for contracting this virus? Will I show antibodies since he has them and we've taken no precautions now that we've been together for four years? Very concerned and scared. I have been in contact with his blood in the course of living together in a loving relationship for four years. Also I've read about a new cure...if someone completes the treatment and is "cured" are they able to pass it to another?
Blank
1747881_tn?1358189534
No you are not at risk, you bf doesn't carry the virus only the antibodies so there is no risk. The antibodies only form when the immune system fights off the virus so unless you come in contact with HCV you will never show antibodies.
Blank
1747881_tn?1358189534
Also I've read about a new cure...if someone completes the treatment and is "cured" are they able to pass it to another? .

No
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much. This is a scary thing to hear, but not the end of the world either way. Uneducated public scared me a lot, luckily I had heard about these things before and approached iit with a somewhat  calm head looking for real facts Your input has been very helpful.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
i had hep c and finished treatment. i have had a svr for over 4 years now. my question is would i ever be able to fight professionally or would i still test positive? any answers would be helpful as this is a passion of mine. thanks.
Blank
1747881_tn?1358189534
You will always test positive for the antibodies but if SVR you can't pass the virus on to anyone else. I have no idea what the rules for professional fighting are so I really can't answer that question.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Maybe the hemopurifier can clear out those darn antibodies (just kidding Hailey, you are stuck with the antibodies)
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
i appreciate the replies but it still doesnt answer my question. i need a factual answer if possible before i star training full force.
Blank
1747881_tn?1358189534
The fact is you will always test positive for the antibodies, now if the fighting organization will accept a negative PCR test as proof you can't pass the virus on then I guess you would be good to go but that is something that can't be answered here you will have to ask the organization.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
What is the factual answer that you require? You will always carry and test positive for the antibodies even though you do not have the disease and will not test positive by PCR or TMA which measures active virus.

Unfortunately many organizations will use an antibody test rather then a PCR or TMA to determine eligibility. Many of us deal with this especially regularly with life insurance eligibility or donating of blood. As hrsepwrguy mentioned it's unlikely that one of us will know the rules of the fighting organization.

I am sorry that there is not a better answer and that you as many of us have to face this type of obstacle in life.
-Dave
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
thank you guys, that was more informative. i guess i will have to contact the fighting organization to find out what kind of testing they would do. thanks again for your time.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
My Anti HCV antibody is showing 0.8 (range 0.0 - 1.0) is negative. How can I bring it under 0.7... any medicines or cures?

Hash
Blank
1815939_tn?1377995399
Welcome to the forum!

This is a very old thread. You will get a better answer if you post in a new thread (see towards the top of the page, orange rectangle that says 'Post a Question').

When you post, give us the details, the type of test performed, the exact results of the test, etc. so we can determine what kind of test you had and what it is measuring. If possible, type in exactly what the lab result says, all of it. Then people will see if they can answer your question.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
S/co <1 is  considered Neg. as the test said.  Most often when the result is low like this you have had a false positive test .

The initial Ab test is very sensitive for any antibody and can sometimes cross react with antibodies to other conditions...hence the false positive for HCV

Bring it down to .7?  Why and to cure what?

If you want to confirm you do not have active HCV do a PCR or a Riba test

Will
Blank
1815939_tn?1377995399
Okay, Will has addressed your question and he is more knowledgeable than I am. I would follow his advice.

Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I gave blood and got a letter back from the blood center saying I tested positive for the HCV antibody on a screening test and "indeterminate" on a confirmatory test. The letter also said they used a test called Nucleic Acid Testing, which they said was "highly sensitive" for the virus. That test came up negative. I decided to go to my regular doctor just to see what was going on. All she did was test for the antibody again and obviously it came up positive again and now she wants to do more testing. Why am I testing positive for HCV antibody? Does that mean I actually had the virus at one point? I have given blood several times before and never had that result until now. I don't have any tattoos/piercings and I don't remember anything else that could have given me the virus. And does the negative result on the Nucleic Acid Test mean that I am probably OK?
Blank
1815939_tn?1377995399
Hello and welcome to the forum.

This is a very old thread and it possible no one (that is knowledgeable) will see your post. You will get a better answer if you post in a new thread (see towards the top of the page, orange rectangle that says 'Post a Question').

If possible, type in exactly what the lab result says, all of it. Then people will see if they can answer your question.

Although Hep C is transmitted via blood to blood there are many instance in which someone could contract Hep C. In 40% of the cases, people do not know how they contracted it.  Here is a link that gives some of those routes of transmission:
http://www.epidemic.org/theFacts/hepatitisC/transmission/

If you ever had Hep C you will test positive on the antibody test. It is possible that you had the virus and cleared it on your own (had the virus and your body fought it off).The only way to know for sure if you have active Hep C is to do further testing.

I wish you luck.

Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Hello everyone! My name is Rachel and Im 22goin years old. Ive been having some reoccurring medical issues the past few months and have been getting bloodwork left and right. From my gyno, food allergy testing, communicable disease, and basic (I assume) from my primary physician. Everything theyve tested me for has come out negative and very healthy according to them. BESIDES testing positive for HEP C antibodies. I was shocked to hear that but felt short term relief when she asked if i had been vaccinated in the past. I assumed yes,  saying i had attended public school and school in general for many years. After going home I was wondering why Hep c antibodies had shown up but not A &B..? I researched and soon found out that there is no such thing as a HEP C vaccine at all!? So why would she ask me that? And im all sorts of worried and confused about the entire situation.      She didnt ask for further tests or anything making me feel as if i had nothing to worry about. Is this situation normal? Should i get further testing? Im really worried..
Blank
1747881_tn?1358189534
"Should i get further testing?"   Yes

Approx 20% of all people who come in to contact with HCV are able to clear the virus through their own immune system but will always test positive for the antibodies as explained below

Information on Testing
What to Expect When Getting Tested for Hepatitis C

•Two different types of blood tests are needed to tell if a person has Hepatitis C.
•The initial screening test is a blood test that looks for antibodies to the Hepatitis C virus. Sometimes this test is called a Hepatitis C Antibody Test.
•The test results will take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to come back, although new Rapid Antibody Tests are available in some settings.

What do the Hepatitis C Antibody Test Results Mean?

•A non-reactive or negative antibody test result means that a person is not currently infected with the Hepatitis C virus.

•A reactive or positive antibody test result means a person has been infected with the Hepatitis C virus. Most people who get infected with the virus, stay infected with Hepatitis C. This is known as chronic Hepatitis C. However, some people are able to get rid of or “clear” the virus. Once people have been infected, they will always have antibodies in their blood. This is true if they have cleared the virus or still have the virus in their blood.

What to do if the Hepatitis C Antibody Test is Reactive

•If the Hepatitis C Antibody Test is reactive, an additional, follow-up test will be needed to see if the Hepatitis C virus is currently in the blood.
•If the additional blood test is:
Negative—this means a person was infected with Hepatitis C, but the virus has now been cleared from his or her body.
Positive—this means a person currently has the virus in his or her blood and is chronically infected.

•If a person has a reactive antibody test and a positive follow-up test, he or she needs to talk to a health care provider experienced in treating Hepatitis C.

http://www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis/LearnMore.htm

The follow up test is called an HCV RNA by PCR test
Blank
3209941_tn?1345658172
im goin thru the same thing........im also confused n will see my g.i on thee 30
Blank
179856_tn?1333550962
Kimmikim this thread is from 2005.  If you'd like start a new thread and I'm sure people can offer you their opinions and positive advice. :)
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
i had hep c test it came back positive. BUT I HAD ANOTHER AND IT WAS GONE, just antibodies. so i gave blood to research why we are so special and our bodies cleared it. only 20% do this.
it was the biggest emotional ride, but to not have it now i just hope my blood helps researchers find a way to help others too!
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I think you may have a lawsuit if you can prove you got it from giving blood.
Blank
683231_tn?1392746464
Hi Foxy
This thread was originally started in 2005 and bobbie0226 has not posted since 2012.
If you would like to ask a question select the post a new question link at the top right side on the page and ask a new question of the group.
Also just an FYI you cannot get hepatitis c or any other blood bourn illness from donating blood at least not here in the US. They use all new sterilized equipment to take donations. And as far as receiving donated blood, all blood is now checked for hepatitis C (there has been a test since 1989 I think) as well a other illnesses like hepatitis B and HIV so the chance of contracting one of those by receiving blood is also very small now. Before the test for Hep C was available some people did contract the virus from blood they received.

Anyway welcome to the forum and good luck
Lynn
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Hepatitis C Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eaters: How to Silence Yo...
Mar 26 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
1344197_tn?1392822771
Blank
Vaginal vs. Laparoscopic Hysterecto...
Feb 19 by J. Kyle Mathews, MD, DVMBlank
1684282_tn?1350782543
Blank
The Death by Heroin
Feb 03 by Julia M Aharonov, DOBlank
Top Hepatitis Answerers
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
willbb
317787_tn?1373214989
Blank
Dee1956
DC
1747881_tn?1358189534
Blank
hrsepwrguy
Greeley, CO
163305_tn?1333672171
Blank
orphanedhawk
Rural Mural, CA
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
can-do-man
IN
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
copyman