|Do I have HCV?
Jul 24, 2005
I am a 22 year old asymptomatic male. I recently had a routine blood test and I have an elevated ALT of 56 (where I got my test, normal levels are 10 to 45).
I am extremely worried I might have chronic HCV, which is characterized with slightly elevated ALT. The only possible risk factor I have is heterosexual sex. I have (stupidly) had unprotected sex with 5 girls over the past year, and I briefly had anal sex (really lubed up, for less than a minute) with one of them. I have never been diagnosed with any STDs.
I understand that the female-to-male risk is low. I also understand the risk is higher if one of the partners has HIV. Does this mean that if my elevated ALT is due to HCV, I likely have HIV too?
I have a high CD4 count (not that this matters) and I have never had ARS-like symptoms. But of course, without a test, I can't prove I don't have HCV or HIV or both.
I am mostly worried because I can't find any evidence that my ALT could be due to anything else. My BMI is 25 or 26, a little high--but while many Americans are overweight very few have elevated ALT. My AST, triglycerides, and cholesterol are all within normal range. I do not drink much. I had a friend who works in ultrasound look at my liver, and while he said there was a little shading it is not definitively "fatty."
I know medications can cause elevated ALT, but I only take Excedrin only occasionally and have tried ephedrine for weight loss sporadically. I hadn't taken any Excedrin in the 2 weeks or so before my test.
I just don't think any of this, besides HCV, is enough to explain an ALT almost twice what most people have. If I have HCV, I'll never be able to get insured, and if I have HIV along with it my life is definitely over.
Am I justifiably worried--and is there anywhere I can get anonymously tested for HIV AND HCV?
Thanks in advance for your response.
| Response from Dr. McGovern
In your home state, call your public health department to find out where you can get anonymous testing. I think you will feel much better after that.
Once you get your negative results, continue with 100 percent safe sex practices. It is awful to be in such a bind of anxiety.
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