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Hepatitis and HIV CoinfectionHepatitis and HIV Coinfection
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Can you clarify?
Jul 8, 2008

Dr. McGovern, Hello I wanted to know if you could clarify something about Hepatis C? I just read a post from someone who posted on June 22nd. You said one wouldn't have to worry about testing for HIV out to a year unless they got ACUTE Hepatitis C infection.

1)What is that? Does that mean the person gets sick?

2)Does that mean if ONLY the person gets sick, and that is due to Hepatitis C, then they should get tested?

3)Would you know if you were sick with Hep C?

Can you please explain further? Thank you for your time!

Response from Dr. McGovern

Acute hepatitis C means recently acquired hepatitis C infection. Chronic HCV means infection that was acquired more than 12 months ago.

When testing a patient with acute hepatitis C, the liver function tests become extremely high whereas in chronic hepatitis C the liver function tests are usually just mildly or moderately abnormal. Some patients do feel sick; others can feel just fatigue. If a patient is being followed for an exposure, the baseline HCV antibody test is negative and then it becomes positive only if a patient had been exposed to hepatitis C. Then, and only then, would a person need further testing out for HIV (until 12 months).

Since transmission of HCV and HIV rarely occur after the same exposure, this scenario is usually not seen. I think we pour more ink over this issue than it is worth!!!

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