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HCV Symptoms and Can't Find Help
Oct 15, 2001

Hi Doctor Dieterich, Let me thank you in advance. I have a question that has been bothering me for quite a while,yet I have found no where to get an answer! Please help me! I had a high risk encounter a few days more than 3 months ago. 10 days after that, I came down with a few symptoms including fever,sore throat, joint pain,nausia and fatigue. I have tested 3 times for HIV, the last time being on the 67th day, and one PCR RNA on the 34th day with an antibody test - all negtive - I'm going to get my 3 months test soon. But my question to you is: around 2 months into the off and on symptoms mentioned above(fever stopped at the 1st month's end),I began to have dull pain mostly around the right hand side of my rib cage(all the way from the bottom of the chestbone down to the waist),a few times on the left. I also began to have itch all over sometime later. I have seen 3 out of the 4 doctors at a clinic,reqeusting to be tested for HCV, none of them would do it,but refered me to a sepcialist in the same building. When I finally got to see him 2 weeks after, he gave me some medicine for reducing acid-he said it might be some stomach ulser. More that one week after I took the pills, the pain was still there, and he wanted to have some test done to my stomach(I don't remember the term). There is something I don't understand-I asked to be tested for HCV and he said that it's too early and that I have to wait for half a year! I told him that I wanted to have a PCR done to check for the virus(I read on the internet that even though the antibody needs approximately half a year to be detected, but a PCR test will pick up the virus), but this specialist told me that at this time,the virus is still in the liver and can't be detected! It is contradicting! I don't know why they seem to avoid giving tests, and waste all this time for early treatment.It makes me feel that they are just waiting for it to become chronic when it's too late! Dear Doctor, I'm not saying that I'm sure that I have the disease, but what's wrong with finding out what is wrong since the pacient has the symptoms? I hope that you would excuse me for the lengthy writing, could you please tell me what to do and where to turn? Where can I find a good doctor who really know what's going on? Besides, from the symptoms I described, what did you think was the possibility that I contracted HCV.(I contracted HBV long ago and am immune to it) Thank you so much.

Response from Dr. Dieterich

It is possible that you contracted HCV from a high risk sexual encounter, but unlikely. However if you did, then finding out about the acute infection is the right way to do it because when treated acutely, the infection is 98% curable. I would ask again for the PCR and then go elsewhere. The PCR is a very expensive test and that may be why they are not ordering it. Good luck! DTD



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