|Does Hep C impact HIV seroconversion / window period?
Mar 21, 2008
I have a question about HIV and Hepatitis C coinfection. I am finding conflicting information on the internet regarding whether coinfection would delay HIV seroconversion. Several sites and articles are stating that it would, but they all cite a 1997 journal article about health care workers with delayed seroconversion. I wasnt sure if other factors may have contributed to late seroconversion in these health care workers (such as PEP). Further, since this article is rather old, I was wondering if the newer tests would pick up HIV antibodies regardless of HCV coinfection. I am planning to test for HIV using the OraQuick Advance Rapid 1/2 test offered by my local health department. I am wondering how long after exposure I need to wait in order for my test to provide a conclusive result and rule out HIV infection. My exposure is that Im concerned a needle was reused on me when my blood was drawn at a local lab (patient service center of a national lab company). I know that you (and many others) will state that needles are not reused, but I am planning to test for my own piece of mind. Assuming the worst case scenario that I was exposed to HIV and HCV at the same time through a contaminated needle, when would the OraQuick test provide a conclusive result and would HCV infection affect the HIV window period/seroconversion in any way? Thank you very much for your time.
| Response from Dr. McGovern
There is much confusion about this point.
The CDC recommends that health care workers who are exposed to a HIV/HCV coinfected patients get HIV testing at baseline, six, and 12 weeks after exposure. However, if - and only if - the healthcare worker becomes ill with ACUTE HEPATITIS C INFECTION - THEN AND ONLY THEN - is additional testing for HIV recommended at 12 months. If the healthcare worker does not get acute hepatitis C infection, testing is complete for both infections at six months.
I hope this helps.
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