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A Challenge
Mar 11, 2002

I am not sure if you will respond to this because it challenges your comments. Regardless, you do great work and please keep it up.

I have noticed with nearly all posts you indicate that 3 months testing is adequate. For instance, in "seroconversion or just a cold" you respond "Testing at three months after exposure is sufficient".

I work with an HIV support organization and believed that an HCV will delay HIV antibody production. I freely admit that I am a novice when compared with your background. In fact I often use your column for information gathering. That said, given the extraordinary rates of HIV/HCV coinfection, especially over the last few years, isn't your statement innacurate for a large population?

Thanks

Response from Mr. Kull

I am not aware of any research that demonstrates HCV (hepatitis C virus) infection interfering with HIV antibody production, and hence causing a false negative result when testing after the three months window period. If you are aware of research that identifies this phenomenon, I would appreciate you sending me the reference.

The reverse might be true: those who are coinfected with HIV/HCV may have a false-negative antibody screen for HCV antibodies. Other testing technologies should be used for HCV detection in HIV infected persons. This could be crucial since approximately 1/3 of HIV infected patients are coinfected with HCV. More research needs to be conducted on this.

It is unlikely that one would become infected with hepatitis C through sexual contact. HCV is known to be transmitted through contact with blood, so people who share injection needles or who have had blood transfusions before 1990 are at risk. If this applies to you, talk with your doctor about screening for HCV and/or HIV infection.

RMK



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