How Long Will I Test Positive for Hepatitis C Antibodies?
Last updated: July 2023
Two years ago, roughly, I was at an event to mark the start of point of care drug store antibody testing for hep C. We started by using me as a control subject; I had been cure for around 8-9 years and keeping with what we have understood and said for years, I should have always tested positive for antibodies. As it turned out, after waiting he prescribe length of time, the second line, which is an indication of a positive result, was all but missing with only a very faint line.
Hepatitis C antibodies after being cured
Subsequent testing revealed no antibodies at all, which really did fly in the face of that claim we have made for years that people will always test positive for hep C antibodies. Well, it is not accurate information, I know now. I have done enough testing with the same result, and the testing method in 98%-100% accurate using serum choice, which is what we use (not oral/saliva test, which has a slightly lower sensitivity). It looks like we can no longer say that people will always show as positive for antibodies if they were cured or had spontaneous clearance by their own immune response.
What does this mean?
What is the implication for our health or status with hep C? Nothing at all, as far as I can see, but I will be reaching out to my research friends to ask the incidence and the why, just for better understanding. I suspect it is much like everything else, it is different for each of us, and the rareness may be related to our immune response. Not believing I am the only person with the same experience, I did encounter a peer recently who is the same in that he too now tests negative for antibodies and he treated even more recent than my 10 years ago, with different drugs.
I want to learn more!
How many experience this loss of antibodies in unknown to me, and I will be seeking answers in the weeks ahead, but don’t worry, I am sure it is not such a meaningful thing considering that at least as far as we know, the antibodies do not offer us any protection from future exposure and positive RNA/hep C/chronic hep C.
The fact is that most of us will not be having our antibodies tested multiple times, even with a cure. Most often, once RNA is determined as positive, there is no antibody testing done unless it is done in a hospital as part of some screening exercise, and they would discover that you might be antibody neg, which is time, totally fine as we know now. Knowing how science is not static, maybe we will learn more as to why, and I hope to keep you posted as we learn more.