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I had a blood test taken a year ago regarding a needle stick injury at work. The hep c antibody came out positive but the hep c rna came out target not detected but also stated that this does not rule out hcv. Anyone know what this means?
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Avatar universal
Why don't you ask the clinic that administered the test?
Avatar universal
I did but the dr doesn’t specialize in hep c so he just told me congrats u don’t have it. But i don’t feel like he’s right. So i just wanted to make sure. And i don’t have insurance at the moment so i want to see if anyone can help me
If you don't believe the doctor you just have to see another doctor and get the test again.  I doubt the diagnosis has anything to do with the needle stick given that it's hep c, that one is spread out in the baby boom generation in particular because of sexual behavior before much was known about it and it's prevalence.  But again, when you don't believe the doctor, you have to find another doctor and get a second opinion.  Nobody can diagnose this disease when you have no symptoms of it, meaning I'm assuming they found no liver problems, over the internet.
I don't mean to say you can't get it from a needle stick, but it's not easy to get diseases from one incidental contact.  It can happen, it's just very unlikely.  Sharing needles or getting a lot of injections with unsterilized needles makes it a lot more likely.
They say for those who may have used IV drugs even if just one time they are at risk.

Of course sharing needles for drug use is more invasive than just a needle stick.
Avatar universal
Thankyou so much for your answer! I am re testing now. This disease is spread from blood to blood contact and that’s freaking me out and giving me anxiety. If my antibody came out positive but the rna hep c test came out negative, I’m worried sick that i had it one time in my life and i didn’t know. I am married and have a daughter and I’m worried sick that they would have to get tested. My anxiety is freaking me out
Anxiety solves nothing knowledge is power
683231 tn?1467323017
Per the CDC the odds of transmission for a heatlhcare worker who experiences an accidental needle stuck involving a patient with known hep c is about 1.8%

The first test was for Hepatitis c antibodies which can show either possible current or previous infection with the hep c virus. There are also some rare false positives. If a person tests positive on a hep c antibody test the next step is to have a HCV RNA by PCR test that looks for the presence of the hep c virus itself. This test is more accurate but much more expensive so it is performed after the antibody test.

The HCV RNA by PCR test is definitive. If you have had a HCV RNA  test mire than a week after a suspected exposure and the result is not detected you do not have hep c.

You will likely always test positive for hep c antibodies as those are made by your own body as a response to the virus while trying to fight off infection but antibodies are not the virus.

Hep c is a blood borne infection it is transmitted by blood to blood contact. Most commonly transmitted by blood transfusion prior to 1990 when testing for the virus was developed and the blood supply secured. The other most common method is sharing of needles amount IV drug users.

The CDC does not consider hep c to be an STD. Although there is a greater risk of sexual transmission amound those with multiple sexual partners, for those who engage in rough sexpractices and in the presence of HIV. For those this applies to the CDC doesrecomnrnd the use of barrier protection like condoms. However, the CDC does not suggest long term monogamous couples use barrier protection as transmission in this case is rare. There have been many people here who are in long term relationships where one partner has hep c and the other does not.

I have never seen that disclaimer on my hep c tests but I assume it is because if you test too early it may not be accurate. But again if more than a week had passed from a concerning event and the test for the hep c virus the HCV RNA test is not detected it means you do not have hepatitis c.

There is no way to know if you were previously infected in the past and were one of the fortunate 15 to 25 percent who were able to beat the virus in their own or had a false positive for other reasons. Hep c is a very low risk of transmission in a household setting basically unknown. The CDC recommends those with hep c not to share personal items that may be contaminated with blood like toothbrushes, razors, and fingernail clippers. Vertical transmission (during birth) risk is about 5% and as I already mentioned sexual transmission between long term monogamous couples is also very rare.

If you have concerns about your family members because of you positive antibody test result you are always free to have them have the antibody test but I am willing to bet that you done have hep c currently because of your not detected result assuming that was a HCV RNA by OCR test or similar and because of the very low odds of transmission neither does anyone in your family.

Try looking up CDC FAQ Hepatitis C for the general public.

Best of luck
Thankyou so much for taking the time to respond. So i took a antibody and hep c quantative test last week and the antibody still hasn’t come in yet but the hep c quantitive is not detected. The last time i took a test was July 2016 and the rna was not detected. So i don’t have it right?
Unless there was a lab error in your first antibody test once you have tested positive for hep c antibodies you will likely always test positive for the rest of your life.

I had hep c for 37 years before I was finally cured in my fifth treatment. I show as not detected on the test for the virus the HCV RNA test but will always test positive for antibodies.

Normally the antibody test would be back in just a couple of days and the HCV RNA by PCR test would take 7 to 10 days for me to get results.

What your antibody test says means nothing if the result on your result HCV RNA by PCR test for the virus itself showns not detected as the result. Not detected means the test cannot find any virus in your blood.

So no virus, no infection, no hep c.

Antibodies are made by your own body when it tries to fight an infection. Unfortunately our antibodies are not very good at fighting hep c or we would have an immunization for it by now.

But just like if say you ever had the measles or were vaccinated against the measles virus if tested you would show that you have measles virus antibodies because your body created antibodies against the measles virus when you were exposed either by infection or by immunization.

Going forward, and with that in mind, if this antibody test is also positive there is no reason to ever take the hep c antibody test again as you know the result will be it will always test positive. So if you should have a concerning event like a needle stick or other exposure the only test you should have is the HCV RNA by PCR test for the virus itself to know if you ever become infected. There is no reason for you to take any additional antibody tests.
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