Chances of False Positive Hep C test?

Question

Hey My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years and at the beginning when we were dating, he told me he tested positive for hepatitis c, but then said that a re-test said he was negative and that the doctors were sure he was negaitive. But...he used to inject drugs though he claims he has NEVER shared a needle and was very careful. My question is, was the test a false positive or a false negative the second time?? I am worried he has hepatits. Also, if he never shared needles could he infect himself with a clean needle?? Thanks!

Answer

All good questions....

If a patient of mine had a history of injection drug use, I would follow up the HCV antibody with a viral load test. If that was negative, and the patient was 100% sure that he had never shared needles, cotton, or cookers...then I would check a RIBA test to see if the antibody was a false positive test.

Persons who never share ANY equipment - needles OR cookers OR cotton, are not at risk for HCV. Unfortunately, many persons who inject drugs think that sharing cookers or cotton is okay...But it is NOT safe...We have seen several patients who have acquired HCV this way.

Also there is a study that was just published showing how HCV can survive in insulin syringes and other needles for days....