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Avatar universal

A rough Christmas

Hello all,


Thank you for taking the time to read my first, anxiety-filled post. My entire situation:

Background: I used to donate blood through the Red Cross in 2006-2007. Of course my blood was routinely tested for HCV. 2006 --negative, January 2007 --, July 2007 +. RIBA was run and came back INDETERMINATE. I then received the Red Cross letter about the results. It was very NONthreatening and told me I would not be able to donate again until I got a clearance from my doc that I tested neg for HCV. I did not have health insurance at the time, and I also NO risk factors. I was not worried, just more so annoyed by the new obstacles to donating blood, so I did not seek further testing (read forward please).

Fast-forward 3 years to last month (Dec 2010).....I had a routine screening with an OB/GYN for many infectious dieases in December (no screening for HCV between July '07 and now). Negative for HIV, negative for HBV antigens, but HCV EIA again came back positive and then AGAIN with an Indeterminate RIBA result:

*****From what my OB/GYN said, this Dec '10 RIBA was run testing for 4 antibodies: 1 was positive, 3 were negative......resulting in "Indeterminate." DOES ANYONE KNOW THE 4 ANTIBODIES THAT ARE TESTED? At this point I laughed, since the results were again ambiguous, leaving me waiting and wondering. Onto a PCR.....

Here is my hang-up: When I went to see a gastroenterologist last week to request a quantitative PCR, I only got to talk with his PA, and when she looked at my faxed RIBA results from my OB/GYN, she immediately said nonchalantly "actually you tested positive for the one HCV antibody, so it looks like you are or were infected" while looking at my paperwork. This makes NO sense to me. I was tested for FOUR antibodies before, sooooo??? Why would my lab results for the RIBA come back as "Indeterminate" (1 out of 4 antibodies positive), only for me to take them to her and in two seconds she looks at the paperwork results and tells me I probably DID get infected. You can imagine that my heart fell through my body, especially when I have no obvious risk factors for HCV from before my last negative EIA HCV result and now.

I contacted the Red Cross. I talked to my OB/GYN. Both say most likely I have nothing to worry about based on my lack of risk factors and lifestyle....I've heard "probably a false-positive" over and over. I was devastated last week by what the PA said. I went to a gastroenterologist (foolishly now) thinking I would get reassurance and a further education on HCV. Instead I was told I probably did get infected and got a five second glance at my RIBA results that my OB/GYN had sent. Were they even the right paperwork? When I glanced at the one sheet she showed me, there was info about HAV and HBV, which were not what are to be tested. DOES THE RIBA TEST FOR HEP A AND HEP B AT THE SAME TIME TOO WHEN I WAS RECEIVING CLARIFICATION FOR HEP C??? She started examining me for signs of liver damage, looking at my hands, my back and abdomen, saying we should get my liver enzyme levels checked. I told her I was in disbelief and she asked if I wanted to re-run the RIBA. I said YES please.

I have yet to receive the results, but have received MUCH support on here just from reading posts.....thank you so much :-)

Here's the thing......I have ZERO risk factors. I've looked up dozens upon dozens of articles, journals, nonprofit orgs online....nothing. Never any blood transfusions, no car accidents or major surgeries, never worked in health care or with blood, no tattoos, no piercings, NEVER used IV drugs or had a single needle that I suspected as "used" during medical purposes (bloodtests/shots), no sexual intercourse with an infected individual, college-educated Christian mother. So I am stumped and scared, especially when the PA told me quite nonchalantly that I probably have been infected.

21 Responses
1491755 tn?1333204962
Did you get the PCR ? By getting a PCR you will have done what you need to do for a definite answer.  Good luck
Avatar universal
No, the PCR results will come later. I realize it is a waiting game. However, it gets more and more agonizing to wait with each passing day. I have been waiting almost four weeks with test after test and this picture is more and more weird. It is not any easier when I get conflicting info from different health professionals I see. That is even more unsettling.
1491755 tn?1333204962
PCR comes after a positive anti bodie test.
1491755 tn?1333204962
87972 tn?1322664839
As you probably realize by now, roughly 20% of those infected with HCV will clear the virus spontaneously within six months of initial exposure. It sounds as though a PCR test would be indicated to help sort out active RNA infection. If the PCR results are negative, you aren’t infected; that pretty much takes the wind out of the anxiety.

There are a number of HCV patients that simply don’t fit the profile; somehow, the little old lady that lives on the farm in rural Indiana manages to get infected without surgeries, major dental work, etc… you might be one of those people.

Good luck, and let us know how things go—


338734 tn?1377163768
I was initially told the same thing about "don't worry". Risk factors be dammed ... get the PCR test to know FOR SURE.

Best luck. I hope you have no reason to come back unless to say thanks and goodbye! ;-)
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