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Help Me Please-RIBA says Positve for HCV,PCR Shows Negative
Dec 28, 2001

It seems that you had a very positive test Dr. Roderiguez-Torres, My question, I asked you if it was possible to share needles with my husband and he was positive and they told me I was negative for HCV. Well, two days later, the "secretary" told me that she gave the wrong results and I am in fact HCV Postive. I went to a different doctor to have a PCR done, and she told me two weeks later now that I am negative? What is going on? I can send you the hospital work- it says aniti-HCCv Strip Immunblot Assay (0-4 0=Neg..4=Strong possiblem . i scored a 3, then it went on to say that anitbodies were detected to at least two HCV genome,...ect. But now the other doctor's office that I had wrok done at their lab, they did the PCR and told me I do not have HCV, is this possible? And can I sue? I have been on an emotional rolller coaster ride, I have been told twice now I am negative, to be told I am positive, now to find out I may be negative. What the heck is going on? Muchos Gracias, your loyal listener, Marcie

Response from Dr. Rodriguez-Torres

Well ,I am sorry you have had this problem,and nobody has helped you understand.The Elisa test only says that the patient was infected to the virus but not if the virus is still in the blood.The RIBA test will check for antibodies to the genome of the virus that is present in the blood,and confirms active viremia in the patient.It seems that you had a very positive test.The PCR is the only test that can measure the amount of virus in your blood,and when it is positive is 100% correct.This test has a cut off where patients with low viral load can be negative.We have tests now ,that can detect as low as 50 copies. It will be unusual to have a very positive Riba and have a negative PCR.In view of the changing results in the first lab.,this is the test that may be wrong or mistaken.All kinds of mistakes can happen,we are humans after all.!! As the PCR is negative now,you may want to repeat it in 6 months to check for low viremia.You may want to repeat the Riba ,or request it to be repeated at the first lab free of charge.This is a service they should provide in view of the confusion.Relax,trust more the PCR,most probably you are O.K.



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