Hepatitis Forums

Hepatitis C Main Forums => I Just Tested Positive for Hepatitis C => Topic started by: RIVERSONG on April 09, 2018, 12:18:29 pm

Title: I Just Tested Positive for Hep C
Post by: RIVERSONG on April 09, 2018, 12:18:29 pm
I was just tested positive for Hep C and had follow up blood tests last week.  I am very anxious, have lost a lot of sleep and am not eating.  I expect the results of the followup will confirm the initial test, as it seems that false positives are very rare.  There is a slight chance that I can fight it without drugs, but I am 65 and doubt that will happen because of my age.  I'm not on any medicine right now, and all my liver function tests were in the normal range.  So I don't think that I yet have any liver damage.  I want to start treatment as soon as possible, even if I have to go out of pocket.  One concern is that a doctor will not treat me because of my age.  Is that something I should be concerned about?
Title: Re: I Just Tested Positive for Hep C
Post by: Lynn K on April 09, 2018, 01:59:46 pm
Ok so I am getting you had a positive hep c antibody test. If you were infected it could have been many years ago so your current age has little to do with it. About 25% of people are fortunate enough to beat the virus on their own so it is entirely possible you are not infected currently.

So until you get the results of the HCV RNA by PCR test that looks for the actual virus in your blood you don’t know at this point if you are infected and will need treatment.

One reason to be hopeful is your liver enzymes are in normal range. The majority of people infected with hep c will have slightly above normal range liver enzyme tests (ALT and AST)

Also liver enzymes do not reflect amount of liver damage only that something is currently bothering the liver like having a virus that attracts the liver or taking excessive amounts of certain meds i.e. Tylenol well above recommended dosage for extended periods of time.

For myself my liver enzymes were above normal before I was treated but ate now in normal range even though I have extensive liver damage (cirrhosis) for 10 years now my ALT and AST are normal.

But anyway with all that said if you are infected yes you can be tested no reason they won’t treat you. Sonó reason to worry about your age. In the past when the meds were new a couple of years ago many insurances balked at the cost but that has improved.

Best of luck to you.
Let us know how it is going and come back if you have any questions
Title: Re: I Just Tested Positive for Hep C
Post by: RIVERSONG on April 09, 2018, 03:09:05 pm

thanks for the response.  This is really confusing to me. 

I was told just a few minutes ago that that Quantitative RNA = < 15 Not detected. They will send me the full results.  This is what the doctor said when I asked what it means "the screening test  was false (+). That is the reason why a confirmatory test was done which was (-). At this point you do not have Hepatitis C."  The doctor also said:  Yes the screening will be (+). But will need confirmatory tests. This time you do not need to see a GI doctor since the confirmation test is (-) ,you are asymptomatic and your liver enzyme ALT is normal. it was 21.

Seems to me she is saying I have Hep C, but without any symptoms right now.  Which is another way of saying that it will just develop later. 

I think I should still see a GI doctor as soon as possible. 

Title: Re: I Just Tested Positive for Hep C
Post by: Lynn K on April 09, 2018, 03:44:04 pm
Ok so the screen test was the hep c antibody test. This only means you were possibly exposed at the virus at some time in the past.

Having a positive antibody test could be from several reasons. It could be a false positive, it could mean you were actually infected at some time in the past but were able to fight off the virus on your own. For folks like me who were treated for hep c and cured we will forever test positive for antibodies because we were previously infected. This would apply to anyone who tests positive for hep c antibodies for any reason. Antibodies are not the virus they are made by our bodies when we come into contact with the virus and our immune system tries to fight the virus. Which about 25% of the time our bodies immune system is able to do successfully. Antibodies are made by your bodies own immune system they are a part of you.

The next test to confirm current infection is called the HCV RNA by PCR test. A result of not detected means you are not currently infected with hep c.

She is saying although you tested positive for antibodies to the hep c virus you test not detected for the hep c virus itself. This means you do not have hep c and no treatment is required congratulations.

You will always test positive for antibodies to the hep c virus but as long as you test not detected for the virus itself you do not have hep c.

If you should ever in the future have a situation where blood infected with hep c could have entered your blood stream skip the hepc antibody test you will always test positive and just have the test for the virus itself the HCV RNA test.

I am not a medical person please check back with your doctor for confirmation as I could be misunderstanding your questions and comments.

But as you yourself said "the screening test  was false (+). That is the reason why a confirmatory test was done which was (-). At this point you do not have Hepatitis C."

So as I understand what you have written you do not have Hepatitis C and no treatment or further testing is needed

Here are a couple of articles on the subject


Title: Re: I Just Tested Positive for Hep C
Post by: RIVERSONG on April 09, 2018, 04:56:29 pm
Lynn, thank you again.  I read the articles and found a couple of others which were very helpful.  I will still get myself retested in about 12 weeks and on a regular basis and maybe do a fibroscan, just for my piece of mind.  This took a great mental toll on me in just a few days, and really changed my outlook. 

I will definitely avoid any risky behaviors from here on in which may have led to my contracting Hep C in the first place.  If it wasn't recent, I can think back to my having an unexplained sickness for about 6 weeks in Asia in 2008, where I spent a lot of my adult life working there.  I had flu-like symptoms and was extremely fatigued, but no one could figure out what I had.  It eventually went away.  That may have been when I fought it off.

I will try to keep my liver as healthy as possible.  I don't drink, maybe the equivalent of 6 beers in a year, but I will cease that all together.  My diet is pretty healthy overall, very little meat, usually have some only at other people's parties or at work events.  I will do a fibroscan just to ease my mind about my liver, since I've read so much about it lately.  It wouldn't hurt, and would be worth the money for me.

Title: Re: I Just Tested Positive for Hep C
Post by: Lynn K on April 09, 2018, 06:43:39 pm
Well if it is at all reassuring:

IF you were infected with hep c in the distance past you had it for less than 6 months. The reason I say this is those who have not cleared the virus within that amount of time are chronically infected by definition and will need treatment. So if you ever had hep c it was for a maxof 6 months and probably less. The majority of people who were infected with hep c have no symptoms only a minority have symptoms during the initial infection phase.

Hep c for most people will take decades of infection to cause liver damage. It is said that about 20% of people infected with hep c for 20 years will progress to liver cirrhosis in that time. So 80% of people infected for 20 years will not develop cirrhosis. We have had many here who had hep c for decades have no liver damage.

Hep c is a blood borne infection it requires blood to blood contact. The primary methods of transmission are IV drug use and blood transfusion prior to 1990 when antibody testing was developed and the blood supply was secured. Some other methods of transmission are tattoos at unlicensed tattoo shops and a small risk of being borne to a mother with hep c.

There are people who can’t determine how or when they were they were exposed but that is less common.

You tested negative for the hep c virus you do not have hep c. If you want to be tested for the hep c virus again with the HCV RNA by PCR test maybe in a year that would be good  for your peace of mind but it is not really medically required. Just don’t have a hep c antibody test the result is known, you will test positive. The only reason you would not test positive on the antibody test is if there was a lab error in your original test but that is very unlikely.

Even though I was infected for 37 years and failed 4 prior treatments (three were with the old treatment regimens) the last time I had a HCV RNA test in April 2016 was one year after I completed treatment. I have not had a HCV RNA test since then. I do have liver enzyme testing done every six months because of my cirrhosis but that is it as far as blood testing. I have an abdominal ultra sound every six months also and see my liver specialist annually.

But if you feel the need to have a Fibroscan done that is entirely between you and your doctor. If you did have hep c it was for such a short period of time it is very unlikely you had any liver injury. Even those with hep c for decades who have liver damage up to cirrhosis will experience improvement in the condition of their liver once cured.

But in my lay person opinion there is no reason you need to live your life any differently than you would had you never had this positive antibody test result.

Certainly avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, having a good diet and getting exercise are good things for everyone to do but you really are not different health wise than the rest of humanity.

Anyway congrats again on not being infected with hep c and enjoy your life :)
Title: Re: I Just Tested Positive for Hep C
Post by: lorwal on April 17, 2018, 10:41:18 pm
I also recently tested pos for hep c . I am on day 5 of taking Mavyret.  So far the only side effects I'm having are headaches. I go for a Colonoscopy tomorrow and I'm  nervous. This is a scary disease. I'm learning so much about it thanks to all of you on this forum. It's nice to know I'm not alone