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Anti-HCV positive, RNA negative - conclusive?

I've been having health issues recently (fatigue/bad GERD) so I've been to my doctor quite a bit in the past year. At the end of September, my doc ran a Hep C test and to my shock and dismay it was reactive (s c/o 1.24). I had a follow up RNA test about a week later which showed Undetected.

My doc wanted to see if I could get a negative antibody test, so she ran it again (same test manufacturer) last week - still reactive, now at 1.62, with an RNA test on the same sample - still Undetected.

I am so stressed and confused. My liver enzymes have always shown as normal, with the exception of one time in the summer that my ALT was elevated by only one point. (Although I know normal enzymes don't mean much.) I am low risk - no unprotected sex, no tattoos or drug use ever, no blood transfusions. I do have some body piercings and have had my nails done, although I have always gone to places that sterilize in front of me. I have been hospitalized in the past year and had surgery in June to remove my gallbladder but those would be my only risks.

I feel like I am just waiting for the RNA test to become positive. I have read RNA levels can fluctuate greatly even by the day, so how will I ever know that I for sure do not have Hep C (or had it and cleared it) and am not just having the RNA run "on the wrong day" so to speak? The RIBA is no longer available. Is there a time frame after which RNA absolutely becomes positive? Also, does my slightly increased antibody level over time mean it's not a false positive?

Does anyone know other infections that might cause a cross-reactive result with the Hep C test, or could my gallbladder removal cause irregular test results?

I'm so sorry for all the questions - I feel so sad. I am only in my twenties and have not yet had the opportunity for marriage or children, and now I feel like I never will because I don't want to put someone else at risk.

3 Responses
683231 tn?1467323017
If you test positive to antibodies it can mean you were exposed at sometime in the past even if you were at some time previously infected about 25% of people who can beat hep c on their own. However the test for the hep c virus itself the HCV RNA by PCR test can detect the virus as soon as 2 weeks.

There are people who cannot point to a specific risk but were infected with hep c.

Antibodies are not the virus they are a part of you they are your bodies response to fight off a virus.

I was cured with Harvoni and test negative for the virus but I will test positive for hep c antibodies for the rest of my life even though I am cured of hep c.

Hep c today is now curable for most people see your doctor and follow their advice. The only test that will tell you if you are infected is the HCV RNA by PCR test or similar that looks for the virus there really was no reason to repeat the antibody test you should have just next tested fro the virus.

Again hep c is curable today.  Get tested and if positive, get treated and cured

no worries
683231 tn?1467323017
Just to add hep c is not considered to be an STD although it is not impossible to spread sexually but the risks are primarily for those with multiple sexual partners, those who engage in rough sex practices and in the presence of HIV.

For those in long test monogamous relationships the CDC does not recommend the use of barrier protectuon as the risk of transmission for these couples is very small.
18601474 tn?1466188088

Here is some information on diagnosing Hep C from MedHelp.org. You're only positive for Hep C if RNA is detected.
Don't apologize for having lots of questions. The best person for you to see regarding your questions about other infections and irregular test results would be a gastroenterologist or hepatologist (liver specialist). If your doctor is not already a gastroenterologist, perhaps you should ask your regular doctor for a referral to a specialist, to give you peace of mind.
Good luck, and please check back in to let us know!
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