still not eligible to donate blood…because why? Research suggests that relapse is very rare so why does the American Red Cross (link) reject potential blood donors who have ever had HCV?
They write (updated: 08/03/2016):
Hepatitis caused by Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus can be easily transmitted from donors to patients through transfusion. It is possible for a donor to carry a hepatitis virus even though he has never been sick with an inflamed liver, and he feels entirely well at the time of donation.
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are transmitted between people through sexual contact and blood-to-blood contact, such as occurs when needles are shared during IV drug use. Hepatitis viruses can also be transmitted from mothers to their unborn babies. However, many people who have hepatitis virus infection cannot determine how they became infected…
…All blood donations are tested for hepatitis B and hepatitis C with several different tests. But because these tests are not perfect, it is still important for people who may be infected with hepatitis viruses to not donate blood. In some cases, all that is required is a waiting period after some particular event, such as an exposure to a patient with hepatitis, to be sure the person was not infected. In other cases, the likelihood of hepatitis is high enough that the person is not eligible to donate regardless of how much time has gone by.
If you had hepatitis…caused by a virus, or unexplained jaundice, since age 11, you are not eligible to donate blood.
But not only that, they say that you are essentially exposed if you LIVE with, OR have sexual contact,with a person who has hepatitis, “you must wait 12 months after the last contact..”
What gives? A partner, spouse , child or roommate, has to MOVE OUT of the shared living space for 12 months, prior to donating blood. Harsh policy since we told that sexual contract among monogamous couples is extremely rare. (And what types of sexual contact are they alluding to? Does a kiss count?)
A few weeks ago I pricked my finger on my old Marine’s used blood glucose lancet tip. It hurt. My careless error because I didn’t buy a sharps bin when he recently started testing.
He’s been SVR since late 2004. By American Red Cross rules, I have been exposed (blood-to-blood) to HCV in the same way an accidental needle stick in a health care setting can occur even though a lot of “time has gone by.”
Should I get re-tested for HCV again post-stick? I was tested in 2004 and again in 2015, when Medicare made the screening free for all boomers. Again, I was safe. Will my doctor recommend another test due to this incident when I see her next? If she doesn’t, should I insist?
I’ve read about the reactivation of HCV after certain drugs have been prescribed (Link) and (link). I’ve been told about occult HCV.
SVR–You’re fine; SVR–no, you’re still dangerous to others. What does the science really say. How “not perfect” are the tests?
Source for #2
Really interesting. In J’s case, he’s now getting low sugar–a new manifestation of DMII–that I’m trying to learn how to help him. Wow. Scary. The VA and private hospital now have corrected the “prediabetes” in his problem list so I’m going to claim it now. I complained in an email that the VA was dropping the ball on this and used your “pregnancy” example from the radio show. (You are or you’re not. You have it or you don’t.) Perfect way to rattle some cages.
I emailed a doctor doing work in the area of undetectable HCV levels and told him about my accidental prick. He said to be safe, get a HCV RNA test soon and again in 6 months for my piece of mind. I thanked him for that advice. I’ll bring his email next time I have a check up. I think Medicare will cover it.
I look at it this way, for something to become reactivated it needs to be there, and there are cases of reactivation. Studies have proven that in the majority of cases very small amounts of virus remain even after SVR for many years.
The reason why anybody who lives with someone who has hep c is excluded as a donor is because studies have shown that many of them develop antibodies to hep c . Just the antibodies, not the disease. Also because when you live with someone who has hep c there’s a risk that you may have become infected and it’s too early for the test to be positive. So it’s safer to exclude you.
I don’t think you’ll catch hep c since your hubby has been SVR for so long but I wish you’d said something when you stuck yourself. I know how to prevent hep c from needle sticks (unproven theory. Hey, it’s not my fault if everybody else is behind).
Three ways to prevent getting hep c from needle sticks:
1. When you eat carbohydrates, they turn into sugar, which causes the pancreas to produce insulin and insulin triggers the production of DGAT1, which is a liver enzyme essential for HCV replication. So if you prevent the production of DGAT1 then the virus can’t replicate. So to do that you eliminate as much carbohydrate from your diet as you can.
2. Turns out Hep C is glucose dependent. The higher your blood sugar the more it can replicate. So again, cutting out carbs and sugar will prevent replication. A further benefit is the improved immune function seen on low carb diets.
3. The Hep c virus seeks to monopolize cholesterol production in order to reduce serum cholesterol and LDL; low cholesterol and LDL has the effect of increasing LDL receptors. (and the Hep C virus uses receptors to infect cells. So if it doesn’t have receptors available, it can’t infect you)
Consuming cholesterol-rich foods in the diet has the effect of reducing LDL receptors.
So if you restrict fructose, total carbohydrate, and PUFA* and eat a cholesterol-rich diet the virus won’t be able to replicate.
***Since I’m not a doctor, before trying this check with your doctor!