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Anti-HCV reactive, HVC RNA Quant pending, no ANSWERS!!
Oct 19, 2013

I got an HCV screen unexpectedly as an addition to a STD screening (and no HPV tests, but she checked for Strep?) and the anti-HVC was reactive. The doc ordered a quantitative PCR RNA, though from my research and understanding these are less sensitive than the qualitative PCR test and can only verify a positive- a negative only means the viral load is below the lower quant limit, not that it is necessarily zero. The nurse that called with the result first indicated there is a strong possibility of a false positive (I'm low risk with the exception of one ear piercing and my navel piercing last year). The lab tech indicates it rarely happens. The doc said she heard I talked to the lab, and hasn't replied further. Provided the quant is below the limit of detection, how do I show the anti-hvc was a false positive? What tests do I still need?

Response from Dr. Taylor

I would see if you CAN get an HCV qualitative RNA by PCR. If you cannot, another option if the HCV quantitative RNA is negative, is to repeat this in 6 weeks or so. There are times when we cannot determine how a person acquired hepatitis C, so before deciding that a reactive HCV antibody is falsely positive, it is important to make sure that a person does not truly have hepatitis C infection. If you do have detectable virus, remember that hepatitis C is curable. All best to you.

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