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Avatar universal

Antibodies

I was recently (6/04) diagnosed with HCV.  Previous to this I have carried the antibodies my entire life.  The virus was passed to me through birth.  I have never really had a clear understanding as to what it actually means to have the antibodies.  I just always thought, I have the antibodies and not the virus.  I took my boys (6yrs and 4 months) to the dr on Friday to get tested and the nurse just called to tell me that both boys DO have the antibodies so now they want to test them for the virus.  I am upset that they didn't test them for the virus to begin with, xpecially since I just had my youngest in April.  Please can someone tell me what does it mean when you have the antibodies?  Does this mean that at one time you DID have the virus and some how your body fought the virus off by its self?  Is it common for children born to mothers who have the virus/antibodies to get the virus later in life?  I do not want my children to live with this virus.
15 Responses
Avatar universal
I am not sure I fully understand your situation.  You have had the antibodies to HCV for years, but DO YOU KNOW if you were tested by PCR when they FIRST discovered the antibodies?  The PCR test indicates the amount of virus in your blood.  If they have done PCR's in the past, you would have received test results stating 'undetected' for the HCV viral load, or something similar, or would have been told that you have a particular amount or 'load' of HCV virus in your blood.  Are you SURE that you have regularly had sensitive PCR's done, as well as the standard antibody tests?

If you were HCV antibody positive at the time that you gave birth, and the doctors were aware of this, DID THEY NOT also test your children within the first year or so after birth for the HCV antibodies as well.  Even if they thought you did not carry the virus anymore, I would think that they would have paid closer attention to the whole HCV situation after the birth of your two children.

Since you were recently 'diagnosed' with HCV in June, did the doctor tell you what your viral load is?  Your genotype?
Those are pieces of information that any decent Hepatologist should have fully discussed with you, and explained the significance of each finding.

If you provide us with more specifics, we may be more able to help offer some insights into your situation.  

When were you FIRST tested for HCV antibodies in the past?  That is, the first date you ever became aware of the potential for having the virus, or having been exposed?

We look forward to hearing more on your test results, and your childrens'.
Avatar universal
My oldest son has been tested every year since he was born (he is 6) and he has always tested positive for the antibodies as well.  My younger son is only 4 months old and they wanted to wait 4 months to test him.  I do have my test results if I could scan them and email them to someone that would be easier for me.  My email is ***@**** you can email me your email if you don't want to post it on here.  Thank you for all of the info.
Avatar universal
If you go to janis7hepc.com they have a sight to help understand test results. I guess what most of us are concerned about is not the antibody testing, but if or when they tested for the virus. It's a very different test that the antibody one. If they never tested you for the virus itself in all these years, I'd dang sure want to know why not. My e-mail is ***@****.
Avatar universal
Another comment that I don't understand is when you state that you have carried the antibodies all your life, and received them at birth.  First, you probably are somewhere in your twenties or even thirties, given your childrens' ages.  The antibody test has only been in existence since the early 1990's, meaning you could not have known you had antibodies for more than 12 to 13 years!  How did you decide you had the antibodies at birth????
When was your FIRST antibody test performed????

Have you indeed been tested by PCR for viral load????  When was the first time you had this test????

These are questions that really call for clear answers, in order to comprehend your situation.
Avatar universal
I am so sorry this cards have been dealt to you and your family. You must feel devastated, in shock, crying a lot, and terrified. We know the feeling. And the frantic wait to find out if our loved ones are carrying the virus also.  
Antibodies for hcv are produced anywhere bt weeks to months of exposure. After the virus presence for over 6 months, you are a chronically infected individual. Meaning the virus was not erradicated by the antibodies and has made itself at home within you. It sounds as if you were only tested for the antibodies and not for the viral presence until recently. Did you have a viral load when you were tested for antibodies originally? I have not heard of people carrying only antibodies  and then developing a Viral load years later.
You might get many of your general questions answered at this site: janis7hepc.com
feel free to ask us anything. BTW we are a patient to patient forum and no drs. monitor it.
Avatar universal
To my knowledge I have been tested for the virus annually, but until my most recent test in June of this year that virus was not found.
Avatar universal
Have you kept copies of all your tests? if not begin ASAP. If you were tested for a viral load RNA PCR test, you might want to know how sensitive the test was. Some tests go as low as >5 IU/ml  but until a few years ago the standard one used went to >600, you might have had a very low viral load, undetected by the tests used on you. Check the tests, get copies, know what the test's sensitivity was. In the meantime, learn as much as you can what the state of your liver is. Biopsy is a standard tool used to determine damage by the virus to the liver.
Your baby might still be carrying the antibodies but no virus. try to get a Heptimax test for them. It will detect a very low viral load(vl).
  Try to schedule an appt with a hepatologist, if you can.
It would be extremely interesting to find out that you had a negative PCR test for years and to get a positive now. I am most interested to learn more, since I've never read of that happening.
Avatar universal
All of my results were given to me by my hepatologist.  I am scheduled to go back to him @ the end of September to talk about TX options and a BX.  Due to a recent major surgery he said he wanted me to wait 3 months post-op so my body could heal.
Maybe I had the virus when I was little before my mother started having me tested and every since then I have carried the antibodies.  I am 25 years old and the first time I tested was when I was 18.
9648 tn?1290091207
Plus, it doesn't make sense to be tested for the antibodies over and over. If you've got them, you've got them. Testing for Viral Load is the only way to see if the virus is actually present.
Avatar universal
Sorry it is taking me a while to get back at the posts but I just started back to work after being off for 4 months of maternity leave....  SORRY!!!

The first time I was tested was when I was 18 and I am now 25.  At that time my dr told me I had the antibodies and since my mother had it I must have inquired it at birth and carried the antibodies my entire life.  I am not sure as to what tests they have done on me throughout this time.  Below is the test results that I got in June when I went.

This is the report the doctor gave me.
Hep C RNA titers positive
Genotype 1b
Titers show greater than one million HCV quantitative units and greater than 600,000 HCV qualitative.  Liver chemistries have always been very low.
SGOT and SGPT in the 50's

HCV PCR: 7,170,000  IU/mL
HCV PCR: 6.86       LogIU/mL

Does this help with understanding my situation?  Sorry that I can not give any more information all of this is just a foriegn language to me.

I do appreciate all the help and information...
Crystal
Avatar universal
it sounds as if you never were tested by PCR until now. You probably had the virus actively replicating  all these years. If you can get copies of previous years test to double check what the quantitative test was if any was done. your next step is to determine how much damage your liver has.
Avatar universal
i want to hide the antibody that it wont appear in the test  how can i do that ?

i only have the antibody for HCV  my pCR is nigative i dont have a viral load

but when i went to kaiwt to work they refuse to give me a residency

or permit to work coz i have only the HCV antibody  so they told me there is a way to hide these antibodys in the lab test

anyone help me and tell me how

thanks

Avatar universal
I think u use steroids to hide antibodies, it suppresses the immune system for the time so u test -ive for hcv antibodies
1 Comments
Steroids in what doze and how long?
Avatar universal
Anyway did u asked them what was the way
Avatar universal
Soso, there is no way to hide the antibodies. Steroids will not do that.

2sons, it sounds like your case is a bit unique. First of all, an antibody test on the baby will not be good until he is between 12-18 months old. All babies born to moms with the antibody will be antibody positive. 95% of those babies will not have the virus and the antibodies will be gone by the time the baby is between 12 and 18 months old. However, he is old enough now to do an HCV/RNA by PCR test. If they find a viral load, then the baby does have the virus.

Your older son should also have an RNA test.  Since he is older than 18 months, and has antibodies, he likely has the virus. The good thing in all of this is that children do remarkably well living with the virus. AND, the new treatments are amazing and will eventually be approved for kids. If you have to be diagnosed with HCV, now is the best time as treatment is easy and very very successful.

My best to you and your boys.
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