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Pos Ab, Neg RNA What Next?
May 29, 2005

Dear Doctor, I am writing from Beijing, China where I am currently working.

My girlfriend recently went for HCV testing. From what she can remember her (only) possible exposure was having unprotected sex twice with her ex-boyfriend, six months before the tests were carried out.

Her results were as follows:

HCV-Ab 1.33 (positive is >= 1.0) HCVRNAFQ < 500 copies/ml ALT 14 U/L (test range 0 40)

The following CDC documents:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/resource/PDFs/interpertation_HCV_results.pdf http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/resource/PDFs/HCV_flow_chart.pdf

appear to suggest a further RIBA test is necessary to confirm her status. However from reading postings on your site I am not sure. Could you please tell me should she get a RIBA test for confirmation or can she and I rest easy in the knowledge that she does not have the virus, or at least have it in a state that is still potentially harmful to her or myself?

Hope you can help out, it is a little difficult for me to find an understanding doctor here and the past couple of weeks have been quite stressful. Thanks.

Response from Dr. McGovern

If her only possible exposure is the route you describe, I would pursue testing with RIBA since I am not sure that this is a true positive or not.

If it is positive by RIBA, I would only pursue one more testing of HCV RNA again to be certain that no detectable virus is present.

If it is negative by RIBA then testing is complete.

DR. McGovern



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