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Undetectable Hep C
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Undetectable Hep C

  Thank you so much for the opportunity to ask this question!!!
  Two years ago I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and Sjogren's Syndrome secondary to the Hepaitis C.  I have not been sick with Hepatitis but I have been very very sick with Sjogren's.  At christmas I even got a fungal infection in my lungs becasue of it.  It was terrible.  Anyway, I went to hear a Hepatitis C researcher speak in our town and he said during his talk that Sjogren's could get worse if you treat with Interferon if the Sjogren's is genetically based and the Hep C was coincidental but if it is caused by the Hep C then Interferon would help.  I went to my regular Liver Doc and he said he would need to do a PCR Test.  This is after two year, a biopsy, living in fear etc.  I just phoned a found out that the PCR test is undetectable.  Does this mean I don't have Hep C?  Am I still contagious?  Am I now cured?  Did I have it at all?  Thanks Nanci  
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Dear Nanci Morrison:
I really enjoyed your question and hopefully I have some good news for you.
Typically a hepatitis C antibody test means that someone has been exposed but a PCR test is needed confirm an on-gong infection.  If the PCR test is negative and it was done correctly, that means someone no longer is infected and got rid of the infection themselves.  About 10 to 15% of patients infected with hepatitis C get rid of the infection themselves.  These patients usually have normal liver enzymes and a normal or near normal liver biopsy (assuming there is no other cause for liver disease).  Is that the case with you?
Again, I emphasize that the PCR test has to be done correctly and I do not trust PCR tests from all labs.  You may want to repeat the PCR test just to be sure especially if you do have abnormal liver enzymes or if your liver biopsy did look light you have/had hepatitis C.  If your PCR is negative and it is accurate it does mean that you are cured and that you are not contagious.
I hope this information is helpful to you.  Good luck.  I am going to keep my fingers crossed that the hepatitis C result was accurate.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, you can post them through MEDHELP or contact us directly at Henry Ford.  The direct number to our liver clinic is: (313) 916-8865.  At Henry Ford, we have a very active group of hepatologists with a strong interest in the care and research of hepatitis C.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation.  Always check with your personal physician when you have a question physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.





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