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Author Topic: antibody positive, viral load negative  (Read 10605 times)

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Offline matches

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 2
antibody positive, viral load negative
« on: June 11, 2015, 02:17:16 pm »

I am 40. Used plenty of drugs in my youth and 20s. IV from 14-16 and 19 years old. Never shared needles... pretty sure at least. If I did, maybe only a couple times.

I am currently living a healthy life. I drink socially and recreationally. Maybe, 2-7 drinks a week.

I recently tested POSITIVE for HEP C antibodies. The doctor did a viral load test that came back NEGATIVE.

I have done extensive research on this, but I am having trouble really understanding the answers to the following questions.

My diagnosis is not the same as the virus being dormant. Is that correct?

Is it possible that the virus can come back, even without further exposure? For example, if I drank too much.

Do I need to be particularly cautious with drinking, ibuprofen and other substances that are hard on the liver/immune system?

Am I contagious, in my current state.

Thank you very much for you help.

Offline Lynn K

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
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  • Get tested, get treated, get cured, fight Hep c!
Re: antibody positive, viral load negative
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2015, 09:53:37 pm »

Just like if you say had the measles or were vaccinated against the measles your body now has antibodies to the measles. But you do not have any measles virus present in your body.

Antibodies are made by your immune system to respond to a viral attack. Antibodies are a part of you not the virus.

Unfortunately the antibodies your body has made against hep c are not effective against the virus unlike the antibodies to the measles which are effective in preventing you from catching the measles once previously infected or immunized. Hep c is a tough virus to beat.

If the antibodies against hep c were effective we would have a immunization today to prevent hep c like we have for so many illnesses

About 25% of people who were once exposed to hepatitis were able to beat the virus on their own which appears to be where you are.

For those who beat hep c either on their own or now through treatment, we will always test positive for the antibodies our bodies have made against hepatitis c.

But if you test not detected for the virus itself the HCV RNA by PCR test you do not have hep c.

your questions:

"My diagnosis is not the same as the virus being dormant. Is that correct?"

The virus is never dormant it is slowly damaging the liver over many years and about 20% of those infected will eventually develop cirrhosis. Hep c is a slow moving illness but the dragon does not sleep.

Based on what you have said your diagnosis is you were once exposed to hep c but do not have the virus and are not currently infected. Which your doctor would tell you if you ask.

"Is it possible that the virus can come back, even without further exposure? For example, if I drank too much."

The only way to get hepatitis c is through blood to blood contact. Alcohol cannot give anyone hep c.

What alcohol can do is multiply the damage happening to your liver from hep c. They say drinking while you are infected with hep c is like pouring gasoline on a fire.

"Do I need to be particularly cautious with drinking, ibuprofen and other substances that are hard on the liver/immune system?"

No more cautious than everyone else assuming you have no liver damage. Has your doctor evaluated you liver do you have elevated liver enzymes. If you do not have liver damage you are exactly in the same situation as anyone else. If you have a question about how to properly take Tylenol ask your doctor or pharmacist. If you want to know how much alcohol is safe to consume you could ask your doctor or a health clinic about what constitutes safe alcohol consumption. 

"Am I contagious, in my current state?"
No you do not have hep c virus from what you have said you have nothing to transmit just like those of us who have treated and been cured.

However, you wont be able to donate blood. The blood center only checks for antibodies as a screen for hepatitis c and will dispose on any donated blood positive for hep c antibodies. That does not mean we are contagious but that the blood center is not going to hold off every hep c antibody positive sample, perform an expensive test for the virus, and then wait for a week for the results of that test. Finally being able to release the donation that is just not a practical alternative for the blood donation center.

I hope I have cleared this up for you a little. Just bare in mind I am not a medical professional of any kind and for the best information you should discuss medical questions with your doctor

Good Luck
Genotype 1a
1978 contracted, 1990 Dx
1995 Intron A failed
2001 Interferon Riba null response
2003 Pegintron Riba trial med null response
2008 F4 Cirrhosis Bx
2014 12 week Sov/Oly relapse
10/14 fibroscan 27 PLT 96
2014 24 weeks Harvoni 15 weeks Riba
5/4/15 EOT not detected, ALT 21, AST 20
4 week post not detected, ALT 26, AST 28
12 week post NOT DETECTED (07/27/15)
ALT 29, AST 27 PLT 92
24 week post NOT DETECTED! (10/19/15)
44 weeks (3/11/16)  fibroscan 33, PLT 111, HCV NOT DETECTED!

Offline matches

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 2
Re: antibody positive, viral load negative
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2015, 12:32:36 pm »
Thank you very, very much for your detailed response.

I am in the process of getting s new doctor, since the one that got me this diagnosis also diagnosed my son with Lyme  disease... yay :| and handled it very poorly.

So, yes. I will get a new doc and run through the testing process one more time just to be sure and get my liver checked too.

The only way to get hepatitis c is through blood to blood contact. Alcohol cannot give anyone hep c.

Yeah, I know. I guess I just wasn't sure about the science. There seem to be a few differences with this virus. For instance, since I have the antibodies I could still get it again if I was exposed to the virus again. Where as other viruses don't behave that way.

Basically, my previous doctor knew little about the disease. And was shocked that my immune system had beat it. He had me convinced I was some sort medical anomaly. Then when I researched I saw that 15-25% beat it. Anyway, he gave me the impression it could come back at any moment.

Anyway, thanks for your help!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 12:35:15 pm by matches »


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