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I just found out I have Hepatitis C

An Idiot AbroadAn Idiot Abroad Registered User regular
and I'm not sure how. Or what it means. Or anything, I guess.

I had blood work done recently, and I picked up the results today and the nurse gave me the news. I wasn't expecting it, and I don't know what it means, and I naturally said, "What does that mean?" All she said was, "It means you have Hepatitis C."

Since then, in the last, oh, twenty minutes or so, I've done a bit of research but my mind is honestly spinning. I've never used drugs that require a needle (only some pot and mushrooms a few years ago), and I don't have any tattoos or piercings or what-have-you. The only reason I can think I have it is I had unprotected sex twice in my life, both times with the same girl. Once, a little over a year ago, and the second time just two months ago. I didn't finish either time, and it wasn't rough enough to make any blood on either end.

So I'm not sure how I could have gotten it. I'm worried about telling my mom. I don't even know what it means. I know there's a good chance I'll have it forever, but does this mean no unprotected sex ever? No kids, because I would risk my wife (theoretical, right now) getting infected?

I'm sorry this is not well written. I'm just very confused and scared and all the reading I'm doing opens up a thousand more questions. Does anyone here know someone who has it?


  • Captain MarcusCaptain Marcus now arrives the hour of actionRegistered User regular
    It can also be caused by blood transfusions. Sometimes things do slip through, or equipment isn't sterilized.Thankfully there is treatment for it (and there's also a good chance that it'll go away) so talk to your doctor about it. That nurse sounds like shit so you might also want to ask the doctor for a re-test.


    It might mess up your liver 40 years from now, and it might not, but it definitely will if you do anything that involves liver damage. That means no NSAIDs (non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, like aspirin), no acetaminophen (Tylenol), and no alcohol.

    I do laboratory stuff so that's about all I know. Again, talk to your doctor- he'd know the stuff about unprotected sex and pregnancy and all that.

    ISIS delenda est
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    There is a chance that you have a False Positive for Hepatitis C on a single bloodwork test. There is a second confirmation test that you would have to take to verify that you actually have Hepatitis C (and not a cross-reactive antibody from a different kind of infection), after a bit of time.

    Once a second confirmation test is positive, you should probably talk to your sexual contacts about it, so they can get tested, too.

    Most people with Hepatitis C are asymptomatic, but if you have it, you should go in for regular (probably yearly or every 2 years) checkups on your liver to be sure that you don't have a chronic hepatitis infection that is damaging your liver, as well as yearly liver function tests in blood work.

    This is not a death sentence or anything. It's potentially a chronic medical condition, but it's pretty manageable compared to a lot of other things. You just have to avoid alcohol, aspirin/advil/tylenol/aleve/most headache meds, and take a daily pill, in most cases.

    You should most definitely see a doctor, though. That's what you should do.

    Hahnsoo1 on
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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Nurse, Veteran, Army Mom, Ficus, Space Dad, Survivor Contestant God Bless This Mess Registered User regular
    You need to see a doctor.

    1) Ask your doctor whether you have chronic or acute Hepatitis C.

    2) Ask your doctor to genotype your Hepatitis C.

    3) Talk to your doctor about genotype appropriate anti-viral therapies and whether they are worth the risk for you.

    4) If your doctor doesn't know about any of 1-3) get a new doctor. Not all of them are well versed in Hepatitis C therapies.

    5) Get a confirmation test.

    My Mom was feeling terrible and incredibly fatigued for two years. She was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. At the time, late 90's, early 00's, no one really knew much about Hep-C. She was told it was a death sentence (IT IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE). Then she got enrolled in a clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health taking Ribovirin and Interferon. Because of her genotype, it completely cleared the virus and she has been Hep-C free for 15+ years now.

    The therapy at the time was very harsh but saved her life. I think some people don't ever need the therapy and are fine.

    Ribovirin and Interferon are now standard therapy for the disease and work pretty well I think. Your doctor will know more! Don't be afraid to ask for a specialist.

  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Nurse, Veteran, Army Mom, Ficus, Space Dad, Survivor Contestant God Bless This Mess Registered User regular
    Also, I think the most frequent mode of transmission is blood/blood so like shared razors can even transfer it.

    About 75% of Hepatitis C cases are in the Baby Boomer population. You could have even accidentally gotten in from someone in the Baby Boomer population or if you had a blood transfusion before 1993 or so.
    Once you get a secondary confirmation, let your family know and get them tested as well.

    It will be okay!!!

  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    Both of my parents have hep C and are doing fine now. Definitely get treated as soon as you can. The treatments are not pleasant I won't lie to you. Obviously a doctor is the better judge of when/if you need treatment but certainly keep up with it. It can also take years and years to cause problems for you so don't freak out. I have known people who went over a decade without a problem.

  • An Idiot AbroadAn Idiot Abroad Registered User regular
    Thank you for the posts, I really appreciate the information and perspective. I wasn't sure how to process any of it yesterday but now that I've slept and read your replies I'm much more grounded.

    I guess the timing of it is just spectacularly awful. I've been saving for months to go backpacking across Asia, and I finally have enough. I gave my notice at my job a few weeks ago, and I bought the round-trip airplane ticket last week. In addition, I'm entering into a government humanitarian role overseas this year that will last for two years, in a very rural area, and they have just informed me that they can't take me if I'm taking treatment for Hepatitis C.

    I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning at a gastroenterology and hepatology institute, so I should know much more very soon, but I'm hoping what I have has been caught early enough and is not bad enough so that I can delay treatment for two or three years.

    I'm 23, in good shape, I don't really take tylonel or aspirin, and I drink maybe... twice a year. If that. I know it all comes down to how advanced it is and I'll obviously follow the doctor's recommendations, but if there's a window to delay treatment, I simply have to take it. This is absurdly bad timing.

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited January 2015
    you need to get in touch with good doctors and try to find good insurance if you don't have it

    Hepatitis-C is curable with a new drug called Harvoni

    It is extremely expensive, but it's the only FDA-approved cure. Without it, it's a lifetime of disease management. Frankly I'm surprised they told you the result and didn't do anything else.

    If you have insurance, it's an outside chance that they'll cover it, but over time, it will become more accepted and you may eventually get access to it

    *IF* you find out you have a false positive, you need to get it in writing from a doctor with a signature that you don't have it... otherwise that false positive will follow you around

    Jasconius on
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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Do what FCC says.

    I'd want to say there's a very good chance this is a false positive. Keep your spirits up. Let us know the outcome.

  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    Definitely get retested, and have them do the RNA test if possible. There are a number of possibilities with a positive test:
    1. You have hepatitis C (of course very possible)
    2. You were exposed to hep C but spontaneously cleared the virus (apparently happens in about 15-25% of cases)
    3. You were exposed to some other thing that can cause a false positive on a hep C test.
    4. Small possibility of a simple false positive test (i.e. hep C antibodies not even present at all, but test showed positive anyway).

    In cases 2 and 3, the regular test would continue to read positive, but the RNA test would show a negative.

  • An Idiot AbroadAn Idiot Abroad Registered User regular
    Brief update!

    I went to a specialist yesterday. He looked at my original blood work for a few minutes and then said, "You don't have Hepatitis C." Apparently he looked at a lot of periphery information and determined from that it was a false positive.

    I'm getting a second test just to be sure, and I'll know for sure in a week and change. But for now things look up!

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the advice and responses!

    MysstBouwsTDevoutlyApatheticL Ron HowardNocrenDaenrischromdomRawkking GoodguyPure DinHollerPacificstarJuliusy2jake215bowenKamiroKalgarethadmanbAngelinaAl_watjjae2123Arson WellesRear Admiral ChocosyndalisInfidelCaptain Marcus
  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    edited January 2015

    Siska on
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