Avatar universal

Positive antibody results

Hi, I was screened for hcv last week as part of a hiring process, and was told I was reactive to the hcv antibody test.  Obviously this has been really upsetting, and I'm supposed to go tomorrow morning for a follow up blood test.  I have been reading all weekend and I do not have any risk factors for hcv, so I am hoping that I don't actually have the virus.  The provider said the follow up test will give numbers of viral loads, so I'm assuming this is the pcr test-does that sound correct?  My concern, even if that test is negative, is that I will not know if I had the virus at some point in the past because I have had 3 babies in the past 6 years.  I of course want to know if there is any chance they could have been exposed to the virus, so should I ask if they can do the riba test as well, or do that one as a follow up if the pcr is negative?  Thank you.
5 Responses
683231 tn?1467323017
Ok so there is a 25% chance you may have been exposed at some point in the past but we're able to beat the virus on your own. So yes you may not test positive in the HCV RNA by PCR test for the virus but if you do have the virus this test will provide your viral load as well but you would need another test for genotype to see what subspecies of hep c you have to determine the best medicine for you but one thing at a time for now. If you did have hep c for a brief period it was at max for 6 months if it has not cleared on its own it is called chronic at that point. Basically if your body did not beat hep c on its own within 6 months it would have done so so after that you would need medicine to cure hep c

Hep c is not easy to transmit it requires blood to blood contact so it is very likely your children do not have hep c even if you do. Even for child birth the risk is only about 5%. So for piece of mind you may consider having your children tested. Ask your doctor for their thoughts on this after you get your HCV RNA by PCR test back. That test takes several days to get results the soonest I ever got mine was 5 days and not more than 10 days.

The good news is hep c is now very curable treatment could be as far as 12 weeks and in some cases just 8 weeks of treatment. One pill a day with most people experiencing few side effects and more than 95% cure rate.

Hang in there get your test results and then go from there

Good luck to you
Thank you very much for your input!  What about the chance of having a false positive antibody test--as in, I never had the virus at all?  Is the riba the only way to find that out, if the pcr test is negative?
683231 tn?1467323017
The HCV RNA by PCR is definitive it checks for the presence of the actual virus in your blood. The antibody test is only a screening test to see if you have antibodies to the hep c virus indicating you had possibly ever been exposed.

If you test positive on the HCV RNA by PCR test it will also give you your viral load.

My understanding is the there can be false positives on the antibody test or you could have been in the 25% that beat hep c on their own. I am not familiar with the term riba in this context so I cannot speak to that term.

If the riba is the antibody test the HCV RNA by PCR is the definitive test result the test that confirms or disproves infection.

I found out I was infected with hep c back in 1978. All I knew was I was positive for antibodies and had elevated liver enzymes as there was no HCV RNA by PCR test available at that time.

If the HCV RNA by PCR result is "NOT DETECTED" you are not currently infected with hep c

OK I looked up riba test check this out


Hepatitis C RIBA

Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA) is the confirmation test for the hepatitis C antibody.
Explanation of test results:

If the result of the HCV RIBA is positive, this confirms that the detection of a hepatitis C antibody (anti-HCV) was a true positive, meaning that there has been infection with hepatitis C in the past.

If the HCV RIBA result is negative, it means there has not been infection with hepatitis C. If an earlier hepatitis C antibody (anti-HCV) test had been positive, then this was a false positive.
Other things to know:

    Even if the HCV RIBA result is positive, only the test of HCV RNA (viral load) can detect whether the hepatitis C virus is still present in the body.
    HCV RIBA is not a test that is needed for most patients. Usually, it is performed by blood banks to check for hepatitis C in people who donate blood.
683231 tn?1467323017
OK I re read you question. To the best of my knowledge there is no way to say with certainty you were never infected in the past. That there is no way I am aware of to determine if you had a previous infection or that the test result was a false positive. Best to ask your doctor this. I am not a medical professional just a person who had hep c for many years before I was cured.

But if you don't have hep c and your family does not have hep c what difference should it make?
683231 tn?1467323017
Found this it is a little old but might help

Anti-HCV tests detect the presence of antibodies to the virus, indicating exposure to HCV. These tests cannot tell if you still have an active viral infection, only that you were exposed to the virus in the past. Usually, the test is reported as “positive” or “negative.” There is some evidence that, if your test is “weakly positive,” it may not mean that you have been exposed to the HCV virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its guidelines in 2003 and suggests that weakly positive tests be confirmed with the next test before being reported.

HCV RIBA test is an additional test to confirm the presence of antibodies to the virus. In most cases, it can tell if the positive anti-HCV test was due to exposure to HCV (positive RIBA) or represents a false signal (negative RIBA). In a few cases, the results cannot answer this question (indeterminate RIBA). Like the anti-HCV test, the RIBA test cannot tell if you are currently infected, only that you have been exposed to the virus.

Hope this helps
Avatar universal
Thank you for all the info.  The only reason for wanting to know definitively if I had ever had it  is to avoid having to test my 3 young children.  The follow up test was drawn a few days ago and they  ran a quantitative test.  The provider said it would give viral load and genotype, and he also asked for the riba and a liver panel.  No results yet.
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