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Occult HCV sexual transmission?

I previously had 3 sexual encounters about 10 months ago with a male that was HCV positive. I tested negative at 7 months both antibody and NAT testing. I am now a bit worried after finding out about occult HCV (HCV hidden, not showing up in serum or RNA). Does anyone have any insight on this? Should I be worried and try to get additional testing done? Thanks in advance.
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Avatar universal
Just some additional info: prior to this my antibody testing was 0.01 and now read 0.04. I know there’s differentiation between tests but this still slightly worried me.
According to the CDC the newer RNA test is able to detect all infections, but I know previous studies (all seem to be about ~10 years old) stated that Occult HCV could not be detected via serum RNA tests. Curious if anyone has any input?
683231 tn?1467323017
You have tested negative on two antibody tests there is no reason to have the HCV RNA by PCR test.

The difference between your two tests is without clinical significance.

If your testing was done more than 12 weeks after a potential exposure you don’t have hepatitis C.

Also bear in mind while sexual transmission is a possibility that is a greater risk for those who engage in rough sexual practices or have sexual relations with more than one sex partner. For those in monogamous relationships are not advised by the CDC that proactive measures are needed as hep c is not considered to be a sexually transmitted illness. Hep c is a blood borne virus so hep c infected blood must enter the blood stream of an uninfected person.

Also curious why your male partner hasn’t treated his hep c. Since 2014 there have been a new generation of medicines like Harvoni and Epclusa that can cure hep c in upwards of 99% of those treated. Today hep c is approaching curable.

Best of luck
6 Comments
I am more so concerned in regards to Occult HCV infection (studies done have shown some anti-HCV/ RNA HCV negative patients to still have HCV RNA present in liver specimens) however, the bulk of these studies were conducted about 10 years ago and I am unsure whether today’s RNA PCR test sensitivity is able to pick up on this. I have been tested for HCV RNA by PCR. After seeing the studies about Occult HCV infection I began to wonder if this may be a possibility.
Also, thank you very much for your comment.
If you have tested with the HCV RNA by PCR test which looks for the specific presence of the actual hep c virus and your result was not detected you do not have hep C

Medical testing has greatly improved over the years and those situations were relatively rare occurrences.

No this is not a possibility you do not have hep c.

However just to add this primarily a patient forum we cannot presume to diagnose any medical condition or suggest any treatment. I myself am only a patient who had hep c for many years until I was cured with one of the new generation DAA medicines. I do not work in the medical field and have no specific medical knowledge just what I’ve learned over the years of my own illness.

If you wish a medically informed opinion I suggest you discuss your results with your personal physician who ordered your tests.

But again I’m my lay persons opinion you don’t need any further testing and do not have hep c.

And just to add your friend should get treated and cured of his hep c.
Just to add no doctor would treat a case of hep c that can’t be detected. So with a no detected HCV RNA by PCR test you do not require treatment. Without evidence of some form of liver disease especially cryptogenic liver disease that is the only time they would even perform a liver biopsy to examine your liver cells to look for occult HCV infection. Without the presence of liver disease of unknown origin there is no reason to suspect occult HCV infection.

The biggest risk factor for having an OCI is undergoing hemodialysis.  
So this is truly not something I should be worried about?
flyinlynn, again I truly appreciate your response.  Your knowledge and experience is greatly appreciated by so many on this forum. I am happy to hear that your treatment was successful and you are doing well :)
Best to you and yours
Since you tested negative on two antibody tests and more definitively on the HCV RNA by PCR test and unless you had a risk of hepatitis c infected blood entering your blood stream I personally Gould to give this a second thought.

If at some point you develop indications of liver disease like an unexplained elevation in liver enzymes like ALT and AST I would suggest you work with your doctor to determine the reason but I do doubt that would occur.

But again if you want real medical advice I suggest you ask your personal physician.
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