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potential false positive hep c antibody test-please help

I just received a positive hep c antibody test. The cut-off was <1.00 and my result was 1.04. I am extremely worried and have taken a quantitative pcr w/rfx test, I'm awaiting the results. My liver enzymes were also elevated (which makes my doc think it is not a false positive) My AST enzymes were at 147 with the range at 10-30. I have read that lifting weights can cause this to rise, and I did lift weights 3 days prior to this test when I hadn't before. Any input on my results? I am going crazy over this. I am a young mom with two boys and ZERO risk factors other than one incident that I will explain below. My doctor told me not to kiss my kids and to use a different toilet which is making me so much worse. The only potential risk factor (which is why I got tested in the first place) was because a vascular surgeon I was going to was injecting the varicose veins on my legs with a needle (called sclerotherapy), accidentally pricked his own finger through his glove, and continued using that needle on me. I am going out of my mind. Any input is sooooo appreciated. Thank you!
56 Responses
1747881 tn?1546175878
This is from Quest, their test actually test down to 10 IU/ml, trust me, with the super low EIA score and the negative PCR, you do not have hep c

Question 2. What do these test results mean: “<15 Detected” or “<15 Not Detected”?

A “<15 Detected” means the assay was able to detect HCV RNA but was not able to accurately quantitate the viral load. A “<15 Not Detected” means the assay did not detect HCV RNA (Target Not Detected).This test is performed using the COBAS® AmpliPrep/COBAS® Taqman® HCV Test v2.0. The lowest viral load this assay can accurately quantify is 15 IU/mL, but the limit of detection is 10-13 IU/mL. Therefore, we can qualitatively report detection even if the viral load is under 15 IU/mL.

http://education.questdiagnostics.com/faq/FAQ22v1
2059648 tn?1439766665
I'm shocked a doctor would tell you to not kiss your children or use the same toilet.  That's not true.   Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood.   Also, the event
you stated about the doctor who pricked his finger is not a high risk for Hepatitis C.  Yes it's a risk but only about a 1% risk.  

I don't know where you live in the world but there is monumental advancement in the treatment of Hepatitis C.  Many people are cured like me and go on living life to its fullest.  You are young and Hepatitis C is a very slow advancing disease.   Take a deep breath and relax.  Get the results from the viral load test and let us know the results.   25% clear the Hep C virus on their own and regardless test positive for the rest of their life.   This happens more with young people.  

Don't worry about kissing your kids and using the same toilet.  But don't use tooth brushes, razors, nail clippers used by others.  This is a way Hep C can be transmitted.   Besides its a good practice to not use personal items belonging to others.

Hope this helps
Avatar universal
You should find another Dr immediately and hug and kiss those kids every chance you get!

Jules
Avatar universal
Your doctor is really either behind the times, or used to treating different diseases!  Kiss your kids!  Use whatever toilet is handy when you need it!  DWBH told you like it is - this is NOT the type of communicable disease that can be transmitted by kissing, drinking after others from the same glass, hugging, hand holding, food or liquids.  it is only transmitted by blood to blood transfer - mine and many others' came from blood transfusions, some got it by sharing IV drug needles. In hospitals and other medical settings, medical personnel get it from needle stick, from already infected patients, BUT ONLY ABOUT 1 to 1 1/2 % of those exposed that way.  As DWBH said, you CAN but usually won't get it from sharing tooth brushes, razors, nail clippers, etc.  ine can also get it from tattoos, piercings, dental, etc, etc, etc, BUT ALL OF THOSE HAVE THAT VERY SMALL CHANCE so just be reasonable, be careful and don't worry about it.

Many on here had it when they got pregnant and their children didn't have it or get it, growing up with a hepc mom - many of these Moms didn't even know they had it until their children were  school age, to grown.

I - and again, many others - had it many years and our spouses never got it.  

Didn't mean to go on a tirade, but do not want uninformed doctors scaring people about how this disease is communicated.  It is a slow developing, not easily passed on as there must be a comingling of contaminated blood into the uncontaminated person's blood stream to be communicated, and is easily cured in this day and time!

As DWBH said, take a deep breath, exhale, and relax.  Enjoy your children and spouse, and WAIT FOR THE RESULTS of the HCV RNA PCR test.  You may not even have Hep C.  But, if you do, there are marvelous treatments available, and mostare only about 12 weeks long.  Some of us had to go 24 weeks, but that is not bad either.

I know that it is easy to say, 'don't stress' and very hard to do, but trust us on this.  It will all work out.  Get the results.  Bring them back here, then the caring, knowledgeable, heppers and xheppers will be able to give you good advice, support and guidance.

Hang in there!

Blessings,

Pat
Avatar universal
The only concern I can see is if your"Dr" had HCV. A pin prick is something
to worry about, coming from anyone that might have HCV. Your Dr. should
become your x-Dr. immediately. Get tested to make sure this Dr. was
clean. What a "quack".Toilets and kissing, if this had any merit the whole
world would be infected. Much luck, but you shouldn't need it
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your response. I have been in shock and feeling very sorry for myself. I have been researching like a mad woman, and my husband has been telling me to just wait and see what the results come back as. I agree, I know it is blood born, isn't transmittable via kissing, sharing utensils, etc. Maybe my doc is being over-precautious. You said you have been cured?? Congratulations!!! That is wonderful. Is it the new medicine they recently came out with? Harvoni, I think? I have been reading that there is a cure, but have also read that it is about $100K. Is that true? I don't know if insurance accepts it? I am in Orange County, CA, so I would have access to good care, but I currently have an HMO (my choice, since I am very healthy) and can switch to a PPO during open enrollment in Oct. Thank you for the support. I haven't told anyone about this except my mom, brother, and husband, and don't know who I should tell since people tend to freak out about this type of thing. Do you know much about false positives? I am praying since my numbers were so low that it is false. I will know soon enough. Thanks again, I REALLY appreciate it.
Avatar universal
Thank you. I am, I don't know why he would tell me that. Everything I read about says that it transmitted only through blood. I am wracking my brain trying to think if I've bled on nail clippers they've used, or if they've ever used my toothbrush.Thank you.
Avatar universal
I am not really sure how this website works, I thought I was replying to individual responses, but I guess you are all seeing it. Thank you all for taking the time to respond to me, I really appreciate it. I am not handling this very well considering I have no risk factors and the only exposure is from my vascular surgeon who pricked his own finger and then continued using the needle on me. I have read that needle stick injuries are a low transmission, like it was stated here, about 1% and if he has it that he probably got it that way sometime in his career. He has been practicing for 50 years, and I wonder if he had an accidental needle stick from a hep c patient sometime in his career, and doesn't know he has it. I don't know. I feel so mentally weak, I am not handling this well, but appreciate your support. I am waiting on the results.
2059648 tn?1439766665
Relax, wait for results.  Yes there is treatment and insurance companies for the most pat cover Hepatitis C treatment.  If not there is lots options to get treatment covered.  Hepatitis C treatment is costly but lots of people get covered.  I wouldn't get overly concerned about that part of all this.  It sounds big but isn't in the big picture.  

Let us know the results and go from there.
Avatar universal
I just received a message from my doctor regarding the lab test I took. I haven't seen the numbers yet, he will send them to me after he calls me later.

The tests that were ordered are: hepatic function panel, and hepatitis C viral RNA, quantitative PCR w/RFX

His message said this exactly:
Good news
viral load is not being seen
Liver function test has gone down almost toward normal again (My AST was at 147, but I did lift heavy weights 3 days prior and was wondering if that was why it was elevated)
Don't see viral load
Not elevated
Not even present
Don't see any numbers above what's detectable in terms of that value

He still wants me to see a gastrointerologist to go over the numbers. I have an appt at the end of July, that was the earliest appt!

Does this mean my positive antibody test was false positive??? My cutoff ratio was <1.00 and my numbers were 1.04, so it was very low in the first place. I don't know if I should be relieved, but I feel relieved.
Thanks for any input!!!!
2059648 tn?1439766665
If you don't have a viral load you don't have hepatitis C.   People do test positive for Hepatitis C and clear the virus on their own.   Otherwise, once you were exposed to hepatitis C but your body fought it off.   This happens to 25 percent.   It sounds like your doctor is ruling out Hepatitis C and referring you to a specialist for you AST value.  
Avatar universal
Often times the positive antibody test with a very low signal-to-ratio cutoff (yours was 1.04) means that you had a false positive. The signal-to-cutoff would be much higher had you been exposed and fought the virus off. In a false positive test, the body is reacting to something else and that is why the test is slightly positive, or, in other words, has a low signal-to-cutoff ratio. Congratulations, enjoy your negative status.
Avatar universal
Thank you, I am feeling so relieved. Do you know if doctors or tests can tell if it is in fact a false positive, or if my body cleared it on its own, like some people do? I am thinking it was a false positive since my levels were so low in the first place, but I don't know. I have also seen a test called the RIBA? I am not sure what that test is or if it is better or more reliable than the hepatitis C viral RNA, quantitative PCR w/RFX  test I took? Anyone know? Thanks so much for your feedback.
2059648 tn?1439766665
http://jcm.asm.org/content/37/1/233.full

The specialist will retest you to determine if this was a false positive.
2059648 tn?1439766665
Take a look at this link about tests/false positive.

http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HCV/HCVfaq.htm#c3
Avatar universal
OMG, HELP!!! I thought I was in the clear, but my primary doctor just called me and FREAKED me out. He said he can't say it is conclusive because it is early and the virus may have not had time to replicate. It has only been 14 weeks since the incident where my doctor pricked his finger through his glove and continued injecting into my vein with the same needle. Is this true? Has it not been long enough????? The CDC says that it can detect it in 2-3 weeks, but then a footnote says that if it has been less than 6 months, a follow up test may be needed?? This is so confusing. My results read: <15 HCV RNA, QUANTITATIVE REAL TIME PCR AND ANOTHER THAT SAYS ,1.18 WITH THE SAME "COMPONENT DESCRIPTION" My initial positive antibody result was 1.04 with a cutoff of 1.00. Thank you!!!
1747881 tn?1546175878
97% of persons by 6 months after exposure.

How soon after exposure to HCV can HCV RNA be detected by PCR?

HCV RNA appears in blood and can be detected as early as 2–3 weeks after infection.

http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HCV/HCVfaq.htm#c5

Congrats
Have a great day
1747881 tn?1546175878
Well that didn't post right, so I will try again

97% of persons by 6 months after exposure.

How soon after exposure to HCV can HCV RNA be detected by PCR?

HCV RNA appears in blood and can be detected as early as 2–3 weeks after infection.

Congrats
Have a great day

1747881 tn?1546175878
It keeps leaving off half my post, so it's shorter

My results read: <15 HCV RNA, QUANTITATIVE REAL TIME PCR

Those results mean you do not have HCV and your doc is wrong about the virus not having time to replicate

Congrats
Have a great day
2059648 tn?1439766665
You don't have Hepatitis C as hrsepwrguy confirmed.   You have been referred to a specialist and this is a good thing.   Your doctor is lacking in knowledge about hepatitis C.  

You don't have Hepatitis C because you have no viral load.   You may have tested "positive" for Hepatitis C antibodies but you don't have Hepatitis C.

Relax and take a deep breath.....go to the appointment in July and let us know what they say.
2059648 tn?1439766665
That's happened to me too.   The post doesn't show up till later.
Avatar universal
The RIBA test was a confirmatory test that is rarely used any more since the signal-to-cutoff test is very reliable. " If testing is desired to distinguish between true positivity and biologic false positivity for HCV antibody, then, testing may be done with a second HCV antibody assay approved by FDA for diagnosis of HCV infection that is different from the assay used for initial antibody testing. HCV antibody assays vary according to their antigens, test platforms, and performance characteristics, so biologic false positivity is unlikely to be exhibited by more than one test when multiple tests are used on a single specimen." I believe that signal-to-cutoff is adequate enough and taken the place of supplemental tests such as the RIBA for the most part.

The RNA test at 14 weeks is fairly conclusive so your doc is a bit behind the times. Nothing in this world is 100% so many epople chose to do all testing at 6 months post exposure. However, you can be as certain as possible with the low signal-to-cutoff and negative RNA that you do not have hep C at 14 weeks.
Avatar universal
Thank you for all of the responses. This is such a wonderful sight for support. You are all very informative and comforting. I am going to switch doctors (GP) not only because he is not informed of HCV, but because of his bedside manner. He pretty much told me I need to be careful not to come off as a know-it-all when I told him of the facts I obtained from here and the internet. Not only that, but after the needlestick incident with my vascular surgeon (my potential exposure), he told me that I would need to be tested for HCV and HIV for 3,6,9, and 12 months, just like a rape victim would be! He also said that even though my vascular surgeon is a nice man, I don't know his personal life and if he cheats on his wife! What a bedside manner, geez!!! Anyways, at least he referred me to a specialist that I am going to tomorrow. I did the leg work and got her name from my insurance company and called, and they happened to have a cancellation for tomorrow. I'll let you all know what she says! I REALLY appreciate the feedback and support!
Avatar universal
Good luck tomorrow. Hope you like the new doc.
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