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HCV positive testing
Sep 30, 2010

Hi Doctor, My HIV positive husband tested positive for HCV last summer (2009) during a checkup of his HIV numbers. Subsequent re-testing (both PCR and I assume Elisa based) tests were negative. During this positive test, he had an active syfilis infection).

Now, 1 year and 2 negative screening tests later, he again is positive for HCV.

How likely are false-positive reactions for HCV - any factors that can make this worse? Are some people more prone to false-positive reactions against HCV tests?

Yours, B

Response from Dr. McGovern

False positive tests for HCV antibody occur in only a few percentage of people. The chance of a false positive test also depends on the population being studied. For example, among blood donors there are a few percentage of people who may test positive by antibody. But confirmatory testing with a specific test called RIBA will show that they are truly negative. The chance of a false positive test goes down in a patient population with a high likelihood of having had HCV in the past (eg, injection drug users who shared drug paraphernalia).

I think your husband needs a HCV RNA test - of the virus itself - and a RIBA test to settle once and for all as to whether he has HCV infection or not. He may have had these tests already...You can discuss with the doctor.

simple question of transmission route
Hep C Transmission via subcutaneous needlestick

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