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Confused by "borderline" Hep C result

Hello everyone,

I am new to the forum as up until today, I have always classed myself as a very fit and healthy young lady.  I am currently going through the immigration process in an attempt to move to Australia, and have just had my medical as part of my visa conditions.  I got a call from the clinic this morning to inform me that my Hep C result has come back as "borderline" and needs to be tested further.  They were unable to elaborate on what they mean by "borderline" other than they don't think I have anything to worry about and that the test is extremely sensitive and this can sometimes happen.  I am extremely worried and was wondering if anyone could offer me any advice?  I'd had a sickness bug two days prior to my blood tests, could this affect the results?  I am not, nor have ever been an IV drug user, have never had a needle stick injury, have had the same sexual partner for nine years and was tested for Hep C, Hep B and HIV four years ago when changing jobs and was negative.

I am going for another test tomorrow at my regular GP, and the clinic that is dealing with my visa medical said that my blood is going to be tested further.  They said that this can take 4 - 6 weeks - does this sound correct? It seems awfully long to me!

Anyway, sorry this is so long; it is just that I am really panicking here!

3 Responses
87972 tn?1322661239
Hi there,

The borderline result is likely from the HCV antibody test. These tests are run to determine possible exposure and aren’t particularly specific. They’re designed to screen large groups of the population in a cost effective manner, and rely heavily on follow up testing.

The follow up test is likely the ‘HCV RNA by PCR’ test; this checks for presence of active, RNA virus; as opposed to antibody production as your fist test did. The PCR test is specific for infection; if positive, then infection is present. 4-6 weeks sounds too lengthy to me for results; it normally takes 10-14 days for this to turn around. You might ask for a hard copy of these results from your doctor just for future reference, by the way.

Based on your stated history, you’ll probably be fine in the long run. Good luck with the results, and best wishes for your move-


Avatar universal
Hi Bill,

Thank you very much for your prompt and informative response.  I guess I do just have to play a waiting game now.

I will try and determine tomorrow the specific test that is going to be run next and also why it will take so long to hear the outcome.

If the test come back negative, I will certainly ask for a copy of the results.

Many thanks,

87972 tn?1322661239
Good luck! And drop back by and let us know the outcome later if you have time.

One more thought considering the situation with visa.  If the visa is contingent upon negative antibodies rather than negative RNA virus, you might ask your doctor to also run an ‘HCV RIBA’ test assuming the PCR test results are negative.

A negative RIBA result is very conclusive, and will determine if your exposure actually occurred, or if it was a false positive to begin with, which is very likely.

I mention this because there were a couple of young guys in here that were denied entry into the Australian army for much the same situation; finally a negative
RIBA result convinced the army to accept them.

Good luck and best wishes-

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