[Question #4994] Very, very , very strange question about HEP C

25 months ago
Hi. Thanks so much for helping me last times. I must warn you, that this is a very strange question. Here it goes. My sister works as a rep for Oraquick company which makes these tests for HIV and Hep C. We have a lot of them.  We all tested a long time ago and we are fine. Now. Here is the strange part. I was a bit thirsty and picked up cranberry juice (100%, not diluted) poured it into a glass, took a couple of sips, and decided to "test" the juice (from the bottle, not glass) with HEP C test which was lying on a counter. Sorry, please do not ask me why I did it, we have so many of those tests at home and I was just got honestly goofing around. Anyhow, to my shock, the first test I did for Hep C came back positive (control and test lines both appeared) then 3 others came back as invalid (test line was positive, but no control line, so I  it was invalid)and one test had partial T line and partial C line, so I guess also invalid. I just do not know what to think. Can someone's fluids got into the juice (not mine, because it was new bottle, i poured a bit into the glass and drunk it from the glass, not bottle, so it could not be my speciment there). 
Can Hep C can even survive in cranberry juice and be able to infect IF by absolutely no way I can even imagine someone's bodily fluids got into the juice during manufacture? Or did the lines appear on the test because cranberry juice made the test behave funny. Then why on other tests "C" line did not show up but "T" did. A bit embarrased to ask my sister.
I am a bit worried, to be honest. So would I be at risk if it WAS someone's fluids in the cranberry juice and I drunk it?
PS I paid for all the test to help my sister out, so please do not think I used the tests to play around and did not even pay for it. 
Sorry if wasting your time and Thank you in advance for your answer even if question is stupid. 

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
25 months ago
Welcome back to the forum. but sorry you found it necessary. You previously asked about a zero risk event in regard to HIV. This question is similar.

Contrarly to popular opinion, the hepatitis C virus (HCV) really sin't an STD. It is not transmitted heterosexually -- or so rarely that one estimate is that the average risk from vaginal sex, if one parter is infected, is about 1 chance in 190,000. That's equivalent to having sex with infected partners once daily for 520 years before infection might be likely. The only proved sexual transmission for HCV is for traumatic (potentially bloody) anal sex between men.

Your risk of HCV from the events described was zero. You don't need testing. I have no idea whether HCV might survive in cranberry juice -- but that doesn't matter, because the virus CANNOT be transmitted except by direct exposure the bloodstream to another person's blood or body fluids.

As for your test results, it sounds like you don't have it. I would put more reliability in the two negative results than in the one with borderline results. However, the only way to sort this out is for you to visit a doctor or clinic and have them request a proper, lab-based test. I'm betting the result will be negaitve.

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.