Hepatitis C and RA


my question is although I have had high rf tests of 441 ect… for probably 7 years now with no systoms of ra, can this be doing internal damage just by being in your blood? i understand i may experience it my future, but does this wreak havoc if unseen? with high rf numbers, also can the fact im a carrier of tb and did have hep c which I will always test positive for both antibodies, (was treated for and cures of both) (tb )being a carrier, as I came in contact with someone as a child and had hep non a & b in the 80;s and given meds that I was one of the 10% of pop that it cured. Are there other tests that


HI Donna,

Great questions and complicated.  Yes, the positive rheumatoid factor could be from hepatitis C but usually it is positive with hep C when you have arthritis and something called vasculitis.  Doesn’t sound like the case for you.  The positive RF could also represent pre-clinical RA.  In other words, the blood test (RF) can be positive for years before the joint pain develops.  One other test that can help is the anti-CCP antibody test.  If that is positive, that makes the diagnosis of RA much more likely — meaning that the patient, even if aymptomatic now, is likely to develop it down the road. The anti-CCP test is usually negative in hepatitis C.

Joan Bathon, M.D.

About Joan Bathon, M.D.

Dr. Bathon was a Co-Deputy Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Hopkins Bayview. She was also the founder and director of the Hopkins Arthritis Center.