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Hep C question
Aug 15, 2002

My girlfriend had received a lung transplant over a year ago. She was not Hep C+ before the transplant. She recently has been going through an evaluation for another transplant and they found out she now has hepatitis C. We had been having protected sex at first, but then made a choice to not use condoma anymore. So there has been exchange of bodily fluids. I just went yesterday for a blood test to see if I have it and I am waiting for the results. I had general blood work to check me out over a year ago upon break up with an old girlfriend just to be comfortable about myslef and I checked out clean at the time. I have never done any drugs or have any tattoos. My question is, could it be possible that (And this is if I do test positive for the HepC virus) the virus didn't show up in blood at the time of my bloodwork a year ago becasue it was too early? Is it also possible that my recent girlfriend received blood containing the virus during her transplant operation? I am feeling a huge amount of guilt right now if I was responsible for giving this virus to her since they will not do another transplant on her because of this infection. If feel I am a physically strong individual and will be able to overcome this virus if I am positive, however, my girlfriend is going to be limited on her options with medicine because of her lung transplant. Can you offer any suggestions on what options both of us will have?

Response from Dr. Fried

The risk of sexual transmission is very low, so it is unlikely that you got it from your old girlfriend and also unlikely that you gave it to your current girlfriend. It's not impossible, however, so your concern is justified in this situation. I don't know whether you have other risk factors that could have exposed you to HCV in the past. You are doing the right thing by getting tested. Current blood tests can definitively tell you if you have hepatitis C. The results of both your tests should be discussed with your physicians so they can counsel you directly about all the implications.

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