Tests HEPATITIS C ANTI ,RNA QUANT PCR
Nov 4, 2012
My Hep c test was reactive after finding this out I proceeded to have a liver panel test and a liver ultra sound both tests were good plus my regular blood work and yearly checkups have been good in the past and present, I had another test done it was the RNA QUANT PCR results were Value <1.6 LOG QUANT and the HCV RNA QUANT said <43 Not detected I was told with my first test that I definitely have hep c antibodys or been exposed no need to confirm why were my results different on the second test both tests were done within a five week period. Also I read on the first report (hep c reactive) that the health dept will have this on their records do I need to tell them about the second test(RNA QUANT PCR)both test were done by two different labs thank you for your time.
Response from Dr. Taylor
It sounds as though your hepatitis C antibody is present (reactive) but not the hepatitis C RNA, the virus itself. This usually means that you were exposed to hepatitis C at some point but that your body cleared the virus away within the first weeks of infection, on its own. Thus you do not have hepatitis C infection, just a marker in your blood of past exposure, which will exists for your lifetime. If the hepatitis C antibody is positive, the correct next step is to check for the virus itself with the HCV RNA by PCR, so I am glad you had this test.
If you could have been exposed to hepatitis C within the last months, then it is helpful to have the RNA repeated in a few weeks-month to confirm that you are truly virus-negative.
I am glad that your liver panel test and a liver ultrasound results, regular blood work and yearly checkups have been good in the past and present. However hepatitis C can be a sneaky, silent infection that may exist even though blood tests, belly ultrasound and checkup results are good. This is the reason for getting blood tests for hepatitis C specifically. The U.S. CDC now recommends that all 'baby boomers,' that is, people born between 1945 and 1965, get a screening blood test for hepatitis C, the hepatitis C antibody test. In addition people born any year who have a risk factor for exposure should be tested.
Some health departments require that all reactive antibody tests get reported to them. They do not often distinguish between exposure to hepatitis C (being RNA-negative) and having chronic hepatitis C (being RNA-positive). You can try telling them about the second test but they still may 'count' your antibody as they record infections, and a reactive antibody means that at one point there was a new hepatitis C infection.
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