lab mistake or real possibility?
Jul 21, 2006
I think I have been through almost every forum on this site and haven't come across this question. After 2 serious relationships I decided to get a panel of test done which included HIV, HCV, Herpes, Syphilis, etc...(done by my OBGYN) As many paranoid people do, I convenced myself that I had HIV. I was told that the doctor would call me to give me my results however they called and told me to come in. I feared the worst! HIV! Upon getting there I was told that my HCV test was positve and that I had Hep C and further testing would need to be done to determine how much damage had been done to my liver! Everything else was negative. Devestated and shocked, I left and began to research the disease. I have never used IV drugs and have only been in monogomous relationships,as far as I know, and can count the number of partners on one hand. Not only that, but the sexual transmission rate for HCV is minimal. I couldn't understand how this was happening to me. The doctor was certain that I contracted it sexually. A PCR test was done and confirmed negative. Being the worrier that I am I had these results sent to my GP and he said that a RIBA was followed immediately after the postive antibody test and that came back negative. I was thankful that the test came back ok but tramatized by this! I have taken antidepressants to help with the anxiety and they have helped but I can't help but wonder if there is a chance that my HCV and HIV test results got switched by some sort of clerical error seeing as their abbreviations are so similar. My GP said I should not worry about that and that could not happen. My last two partners were tested prior to us being together and as long as they were faithful, which I have no evidence that they weren't, but you never know these days,I have no reason to believe they have anything. I am getting ready to return to school and would like to be able to put this to rest and move on with my life. I know I could get another test done but I don't know if I have the courage to go through that again since it was so tramatizing the first time around. Do you think I can rely on those results and believe that I really am okay? I have no idea how lab a works and if they are set up so that this kind of mix up doesn't occur? I have become a sex advocate to my friends and have learned my lesson! I will use condoms always! No matter what! I really value your opinion and knowledge on this and would greatly appreciate your response. Thank you for your help, it means a lot. Hope you are doing well!
Response from Dr. Frascino
My assessment from the information you provided is:
1. Your initial HCV screening test was in error. It was falsely positive. This was confirmed by the subsequent negative HCV RiBA and HCV PCR. You do not have HCV. No way. No how.
2. Your HIV screening test is negative.
3. I have no reason to suspect or believe your HIV and HCV tests could have been "mixed up." Certainly anything is possible, but I would agree with your GP that the chances of this type of mix-up are so remote as to be nonexistent.
4. Do I believe you can rely on your results and that you are really okay? Absofrickinlutely!
5. As for having the "courage" to retest, don't be such a ninny! You already have irrefutable evidence that you are both HCV and HIV negative. Your fears are completely unwarranted! A simple HIV rapid test will give you the peace of mind you desire. Results are available within 20 minutes! I know the result will be negative. If your fears are persisting (irrational as they may be), get a rapid test to put them to rest once and for all.
Finally, you state, "I have become a sex advocate to my friends . . . ." Hmmm . . . I'll bet that makes you a popular gal! Remember to always play safe and you'll avoid future worries, OK?
Stay well. (Yes, you are indeed well.)
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