Hepatitis C Community
13.4k Members
Avatar universal

Why a false positive for hep C?

Well thanks to all who tried to help me in the last couple of days.  Today I got the results back from my RNA test, and  I found out after 1) a reactive response to Hep C antibody test ,  then 2) a nonreactive response to the Hep C viral load (RNA) test...  so I am so grateful that I seem to not have the virus in my system.  

Does anyone have an informed view of WHY I might have had the  reactive antibody response in the first place?  Is it possible that it was just a mistake,  or does this mean that my body has fought off a previous exposure to the virus?  Can doctors tell the difference between a false positive result and a prior infection?  I would appreciate any information from someone with a studied view of this.  Thank you so much...and good luck to all of you who are going through treatment.     Alice
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Congrats, what this means is at one time you were exposed to the virus and your immune system beat it back. This happens in around 20 to 25% of cases. Remember you will always carry the antibodies but they will do you no harm... Could it have been a "false positive"? Yes but unlikely. Best to you going forward.
Avatar universal
One other scenario is that you might have been infected and the viral count is undetectable.  In any scenario, go get tested again in 6 months and after that's undetectable you are good to go.
1815939 tn?1377995399
I agree with Can-do-man that the Undetectable (negative) HCV RNA test indicates that you do not have Chronic Hepatitis C. While it is possible that the positive antibody test was a false positive, it is most likely you were exposed to Hepatitis C at some point in your life and your immune system was able to fight it off. As Can-do said, this happens in about 20-25% of people who are exposed to the virus.

You will always carry the antibodies and will always test positive on a Hep C antibody test, but you do not have the disease (Chronic Hepatitis C). You cannot pass it to anyone because you do not have it.

"Can doctors tell the difference between a false positive result and a prior infection?"
A false positive antibody test would probably be negative on a second antibody test. A prior infection will show positive on repeated antibody tests.

Here is a link that gives you some more information about Hepatitis C testing:

317787 tn?1473362051
Hi I am so happy for you.  It is great news.  You are lucky that your body was able to fight it off.
My best to you
Have an Answer?
Top Hepatitis Answerers
317787 tn?1473362051
683231 tn?1467326617
Auburn, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Answer a few simple questions about your Hep C treatment journey.

Those who qualify may receive up to $100 for their time.
Explore More In Our Hep C Learning Center
image description
Learn about this treatable virus.
image description
Getting tested for this viral infection.
image description
3 key steps to getting on treatment.
image description
4 steps to getting on therapy.
image description
What you need to know about Hep C drugs.
image description
How the drugs might affect you.
image description
These tips may up your chances of a cure.
Popular Resources
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child
This article will tell you more about strength training at home, giving you some options that require little to no equipment.
In You Can Prevent a Stroke, Dr. Joshua Yamamoto and Dr. Kristin Thomas help us understand what we can do to prevent a stroke.
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.