Originally Posted by Balladeer08
Thank you very much. I'll ask the Dr. about it. I guess I won't worry much, I never drank alcohol or used drugs. But my ex-wife became an alcoholic, so I suppose there is that exposure. If he recommends the test, I guess I'll find out.
I couldn't imagine any reason for the age range, that had me as puzzled as anything. I don't think I've ever seen an announcement like that before. So I was wondering if something like "they used to add XXX to Wheaties/Coke back then" was going to be the explanation.
You are welcome, and remember don't panic. There are many causes of false positives, mostly secondary to lab issues.
Also, just because your ex-wife was an alcoholic doesn't make it a risk factor for you unless she was shooting up intravenous street drugs and was infected herself with the virus. Alcoholic hepatitis alone is not related to Hepatitis C, although the combination progresses the disease.
I think the risk factors for this age range is un-screened blood product administration and the needles used at that time were not disposable for vaccines, etc. The tattoo issue also might be a factor for risk: A group of people tattooing each other without changing equipment.
Like I said the sexual transmission route is low for married couples only sexing with each other. I imagine if you have never had a blood transfusion, no tattoos, and no hospitalization with old fashioned equipment-- your risk factors are low.
It is still a good idea to check it out if the CDC is calling for it. BTW, both of my parents tested positive for HCV and neither of them needed treatment. They were diagnosed just recently and the follow up blood work revealed no viral load. The virus was not detected meaning they were exposed at some point in their life, they have antibodies but not illness. I don't understand the explanation for this.
I have another theory about the CDC: they may be calling for this so that they can get the numbers and compare them to the later generations. Did the rate go down, or did the rate go up status post blood product screening, and an increase intravenous street drug usage as the years went on? That is just a guess on my part.
Another theory: I don't know if the CDC is affiliated with the FDA, but there are new treatments for Hepatitis C-- and since the CDC often recommends treatment courses it's possible they want the numbers for the new medicines, and follow up outcomes. Again this is a guess.
If you do test positive--a referral will most likely be made for a GI doctor. They specialize in this, and understand the follow up blood work according to genotype, and RNA, viral load, etc.
Again: Don't panic #1 there is treatment, #2 for non alcoholics the progression is slow for chronic Hepatitis C, especially if liver function is normal at this time, and without an acute exacerbation of Hepatitis.