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How do you know if you had acute Hep C?
Sep 18, 2011

If you were co infected at the same time with HIV and Hep C and you were testing antibody negative but had multiple Hep C related symptoms how would you know if you were experiencing acute hep c ? Both viruses can affect antibody detection for each other so if you still had elevated liver enzymes (ALT), bloating, excess gas, numb hands and feet, how can you say that this person has not had acute Hep C? I am frustrated, some of the answers here are like talking in circles. It says that if you are suffering from acute hep c it can affect the HIV antibody detection but HOW do you know if you had Acute Hep C? HIV can cause the Hep C antibody test to be false negative. I need a straight answer to this question. I have tested negative with ANTIBODY tests out to 13 months after a high risk for both HIV and Hep C but have major Hep C related symptoms and HIV symptoms as well. Please , help.

Response from Dr. McGovern

Patients with acute HCV infection have abnormal liver function tests and detectable HCV RNA. Then their antibody becomes reactive by about 6 to 12 weeks in most cases....The rest turn positive by six months. You would have been diagnosed by now by antibody testing.

There is a rare case of a delayed detection of HIV antibody after acute HCV infection.

I do not doubt you have symptoms that need attention. Perhaps you can be seen further by your physician so you can explain your concerns. Normal liver function tests would make recent HCV unlikely; if you do have abnormal liver function tests, you can have HCV RNA testing. However, there are many possible explanations for your symptoms that do not include viral hepatitis.

I hope this is helpful.

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