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Re: one more point

Re: one more point

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Posted by thanbey on June 16, 2000 at 12:01:13:

In Reply to: Re: one more point posted by RIchard on June 16, 2000 at 05:03:25:

: : : : I found out yesterday from my girlfriend of 4 months that 2 years ago she contracted Hep C. I have been looking for information on how best to minimise the risk of my becoming infected. I have also been trying to guage the likelihood of having become infected over the last 4 months.

: : : : From what I understand she suffered and recovered from acute Hep C. My question is that none of the info on the web says whether recovery from acute hepatitis means that the virus is no longer present in the body. As such I am unsure whether I may have been exposed over the last 4 months and should see my doctor.

: : : : thanks

: : : : Richard

: : : Dear Richard,

: : : first, let's clear up some misconceptions that may cause you and others some distress if left unsaid.

: : : The first thing is, if you have never had a test for hepC and now test positive, there is no way to be sure you contracted it from your current girlfriend unless you are in an acute phase.

: : : Second, common sense says to use condoms in new relationships to prevent the transmission of any sexually transmitted disease. The risk of transmission of one disease greatly increases if there is already an STD in your history (herpes or chlymidia, for example).

: : : Acute HCV is when you have a brand new infection. Once antibodies are made in the body, the body has seroconverted and the infection has become chronic. This usually happens within the first six months, but could be longer, particularly in children.

: : : About 15-20% of people spontaneously clear the virus without any intervention. A PCR-RNA test is the only way to know whether this has actually occured. That sounds as though what your girlfriend (lucky lady!) has had happen. But, check to be sure this is what she means and this is what the doctor said. In the last two years, a lot has changed in our knowledge and the accuracy of the tests.

: : : Lastly, sexual transmission risks are very low. (higher if another STD is present) Men give it to women and women do not give it to men. So, the chances of your girlfriend having infected you are one zillionth.

: : : Get a test. Use condoms (please), and if your girlfriend drinks alcohol, be sure to tell her that new information suggests this could bring the infection to life if any of those germs are hiding out in her body. Smoking is linked to liver cancer and she may be a increased risk with her history.

: : : Good luck. I hope this helps,

: : : thanbey

: : :

: :
: : An antibody test will not confirm a new infection. Only the Roche PCR can do that because you are in the six month window when antibodies may not have formed. It is expensive, but it will give you the answer for sure.

: : th

: Thanks - I will have to check with her regarding her recovery, she is Eastern European so I am unsure of the quality of her testing/doctors. She does suffer liver pains if she drinks alcohol - which was what prompted her to tell me in the first place. Is that an indication of a continued chronic infection?

: We always use condoms though that is never 100%(I know for sure that I have come into contact with menstrual blood on one occasion.)

: A couple more follow up questions, if you have time
: 1. what does "seroconverted" mean?
: 2. you said that "women do not give it to men" - is this statistically? It is the first time I have read of a bias like that. Most articles seem to imply that blood contact is blood contact, full-stop.

: Thanks again, it is obvious from the number of postings that you put in a lot of time into this message board, I for one am very grateful that you do.

Dear Richard,

I am going to tell you that your girlfriend should not drink any alcohol. AT ALL!

For her own sake, she should be evaluated carefully by a knowledgeable specialist in liver disease. ASAP.

To your questions,

You are correct that blood to blood contact is the predominent mode of transmission. If there is contact with menstrual blood by an open wound or sore on you, then that would be a risk for transmission.

However, in the usual course of events, there is virus in semen. This means that, physiologically speaking, women are at greater risk from men. Unless a man has a wound on his penis, it is the menstruating woman
who has the open wound (the shedding of the uterine lining) since women accept the seminal fluid into their internal organs.

Thus it is that women are at great risk for sexual transmission than men. I have been told that there is no documented case of a woman becoming positive from a male sexual partner. The reverse is not true. However, this cannot be taken to mean that the facts are all known.
I would say that that is not the case.

Since you ahve been using condoms, then I would breathe easier. But, a test would tell the tale.

Serovonversion is when the body starts to manufacture antibodies and the condition has become a chronic disease.
For purposes of testing, it means that an antibody test may not be accurate for at least the first six months after exposure.
However, if there is replicating virus during that time, then a PCR-RNA would detect the active disease because it is testing for
the presence of the DNA of the virus itself, not just the antibodies made by your body.

I hope this helps.

Lastly, I founded the first organization in the United States dedicated to Hepatitis C in 1992.
I found this site and was disappointed in the content given the obvious resources spent on it. So, I started
answering questions when I have time (it doesn't take a lot of time, really).

It is nice to know that people notice your efforts. Thanks for that.


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