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SHOULD I BE RETESTED FOR HEP C?
May 19, 2007

Dear Dr. Mc Govern,

Please let me apologize for the long email. I do not know who else to ask about my condition. I will try to be as brief as possible. My questions are: Should I be tested for Hep C again?. Should I be tested with a different method?.

For the last 2 years I have had the following symptoms:

SYMPTOMS Flu-like symptoms of fatigue and muscle pain (always) Slight sore throat (always) Low-grade fever and night sweats (occasionally at the beginning of the syndrome) Itching /all over my body (at the beginning of the symptoms) Dizziness (occasionally) Nausea (occasionally) Stiff or aching joints .in one wrist and one ankle(recently) Rash -in my abdomen (always though much better for the last few months) Acne it does not go away with treatment (always)

LABS Labs have been always normal except for: Slightly elevated ALT (40-80) (for the last year) Slightly microcytic anemia (always) Elevated immunoglobulin E (4-6 times the upper limit) (a year ago) A recent colonoscopy performed a month ago shows I have microscopic lymphocytic colitis.

RISKS I have had two possible exposures to Hepatitis C I know about. One in 2002 (tattooing) and another one in 2004 (unprotected sex with a high risk individual).

TESTS I have been tested for Hep C in 2005 and in 2006 (one and two years after the last possible exposure). Both results were negative. I have been tested also for several other diseases including Hep B (three times) and HIV (several times). All results were negative.

QUESTIONS Should I trust the results of my tests in spite of the continuing symptoms? Should I be tested for Hep C again? Should I be tested with a different method? I have read about false negative cases and a case of seroconversion al least three years after infection. I have also read about differences in the sensitivity and specificity of the tests depending on Hep C genotypes. But I do not know whether to trust this information or not. I am not a doctor.

Thanks a lot for your answer,

Worried

Response from Dr. McGovern

I think you rest and be reassured that you do not have HCV.



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