Appropriate Uses Of The Hcv Rna Test
There are 4 major reasons that HCV RNA tests are used:
More rarely, HCV RNA is used when either very acute HCV infection is suspected or a false HCV Ab is suspected.
It would not be appropriate to repeatedly order HCV RNA viral load screening for a patient who is not on or was recently on HCV treatment, or to use the HCV viral load to determine the severity of the patient’s infection or the patient’s risk of developing significant liver disease.
Questions For Your Doctor About Test Results
Patients receiving hepatitis C testing may find it helpful to ask questions about their test results. Questions to consider include:
- What type of hepatitis C test did I receive?
- What was my test result?
- How do you interpret the results of the hepatitis C tests that I had?
- Do I need any follow-up tests based on my test result?
Experimental Drugs To Treat Hepatitis C
There have been many advances in the treatment of HCV since the virus was first identified in 1989.
Researchers are studying a wide variety of medications to treat hepatitis C that includes HCV inhibitors. Talk to your doctor or nurse about whether it is safe for you to wait or if you need to be treated before the newer drugs become available.
The drugs that are approved to treat hepatitis C are very expensive and not everyone can afford to be treated. There are options such as patient assistance programs and clinical trials. There are resources listed at the end of the fact sheet and on our website.
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Your Body Your Liver And Hepatitis C
Your liver is the largest internal organ and has over 500 important functions. Almost everything that we eat, drink, smoke, swallow, or absorb through the skin goes through the liver. Since hepatitis C affects the liver and can cause liver damage, you may want to think about what you put into your body so you can minimize the harm to your liver. The most harmful thing for your liver is alcohol, so it’s important to reduce your alcohol intake as much as you can. Eating a healthy, low-fat, low salt diet, drinking lots of water, and getting enough rest and moderate exercise will help your liver do its job.
Why A False Positive Happens
A doctor will consider two factors when reviewing the accuracy of a test result. These two factors are the tests specificity and sensitivity.
Specificity refers to the ability of a test to correctly identify those who do not have a disease. This is called the true negative rate.
Sensitivity reflects the ability of a test to correctly identify those who do have a disease. This is called the true positive rate.
According to a , third-generation anti-HCV tests have an average specificity of 97.5% to 99.7%. The sensitivity of these tests varies from 61.0% to 81.8%.
These findings indicate that anti-HCV tests detect true negatives more accurately than true positives .
A person may receive a false-positive test result if they have HCV antibodies from a previous active infection. They may have received successful treatment for this infection, or their body may have cleared it without treatment.
In either case, the antibodies from the previous infection can remain in the body and lead to positive results on anti-HCV tests.
False-positive results can also occur in children who had HCV transmitted to them during birth from a mother with hepatitis C virus infection.
Ultimately, a person who receives a positive result from an anti-HCV test may not have an active hepatitis C infection. This is why a doctor then typically performs another test the HCV RNA RT-PCR test before making a definitive diagnosis.
People who do not have hepatitis C can often prevent exposure to it by:
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If You Don’t Know Whether Or Not You Have Hcv Live Like You Do
If you know you have antibodies to HCV, but have been unable to get the additional confirmation test, you are not alone. The viral load tests are expensive and hard to get without insurance. Since most people who have anti-HCV do have HCV, the best thing to do while you wait for the test is to live like you have hepatitis C, taking good care of yourself and protecting the health of your liver.
What Is The Difference Between Hepatitis B Surface Antibody And Antigen
An antigen is a substance that induces antibody production. Hepatitis B surface antigen is a protein on the surface of hepatitis B virus.
Hepatitis B surface antibodies are produced by the bodys immune system in response to HBsAg. The presence of adequate hepatitis B surface antibodies in the blood indicates protection against hepatitis B virus infection.
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Testing Positive For Hepatitis C
Zerbor, iStock, Thinkstock
Testing positive for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus may be scary, but now you have information that can improve your health and well-being. This fact sheet will explore what testing positive means, and what you can do about it. Don’t panic — the knowledge you now have will help you make healthier decisions for you and your liver. Information is the key to living well with hepatitis C.
Who Should Get Tested
You should consider getting tested for hepatitis C if you’re worried you could have been infected or you fall into one of the groups at an increased risk of being infected.
Hepatitis C often has no symptoms, so you may still be infected if you feel healthy.
Some groups of people are at an increased risk of hepatitis C, including:
- ex-drug users and current drug users, particularly users of injected drugs
- people who received blood transfusions before September 1991 or blood products before 1986 in the UK
- UK recipients of organ or tissue transplants before 1992
- people who have lived or had medical treatment in an area where hepatitis C is common high-risk areas include Africa, the Middle East and central Asia
- babies and children whose mothers have hepatitis C
- anyone accidentally exposed to the virus, such as health workers
- people who have received a tattoo or piercing where equipment may not have been properly sterilised
- sexual partners, family members and close contacts of people with hepatitis C
If you continue to engage in high-risk activities, such as injecting drugs frequently, regular testing may be recommended. Your doctor will be able to advise you about this.
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Preparation Prior To Transport
Label the specimen container with the patients full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patients date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.
Centrifuge if using SST. Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection.
Specimens more than 7 days post collection will not be tested.
Rna Or Viral Load Test
If you test positively for hepatitis C antibodies, you will need to get an RNA or viral load test. The RNA test is a blood test that checks to see if hepatitis C is active in your body.
- If your RNA test result is negative, you do not have hepatitis C.
Supported by an independent educational grant from Merck & Co., Inc.
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False Positive Hepatitis C Antibody Test Results In Left Ventricular Assist Device Recipients: Increased Risk With Age And Transfusions
Grace Y. Minamoto1, Doreen Lee1, Adriana Colovai2, Dana Levy1, Ljiljana Vasovic3, Keith W. Roach4, Jonathan Shuter1, Daniel Goldstein5, David DAlessandro5, Ulrich P. Jorde6, Victoria A. Muggia1
1 Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, 2 Department of Pathology, Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA 4Department of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY, USA Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, 6 Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA
Keywords: Hepatitis C left ventricular assist device allosensitization
Submitted Sep 30, 2016. Accepted for publication Dec 28, 2016.
All Adults Pregnant Women And People With Risk Factors Should Get Tested For Hepatitis C
Most people who get infected with hepatitis C virus develop a chronic, or lifelong, infection. Left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can cause serious health problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death. People can live without symptoms or feeling sick, so testing is the only way to know if you have hepatitis C. Getting tested is important to find out if you are infected so you can get lifesaving treatment that can cure hepatitis C.
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Arrow 7b: How Well Does Antiviral Treatment Improve Health Outcomes In Asymptomatic Patients With Hepatitis C
Several factors complicate our ability to assess the long-term benefits of treatment of HCV, including the long duration for important complications to develop and the relatively short time period that treatments have been available. There is no data showing long-term benefits after treatment with pegylated interferon, alone or in combination with ribavirin, due to the relatively recent introduction of pegylated interferon.
We independently reviewed the three RCTs that provided long-term outcomes data after treatment with interferon-alfa monotherapy. These studies are summarized in and . In an unblinded, good-quality Japanese trial of 90 patients randomized to interferon-alfa for 24 weeks or to symptomatic treatment, after 8.7 years there was a significant long-term reduction in the rate of developing HCC and in mortality . Cirrhosis was also decreased in the treatment group. Rates of cirrhosis, HCC, and mortality were much higher in this study than in studies in US and European populations. The relative risk of progressing to Child B cirrhosis was 0.230 in the treatment versus the control groups.
Can I Take The Test At Home
At-home hepatitis C tests are available that allow patients to collect a blood sample at home and mail it to a laboratory for testing. Test samples are collected through pricking a finger with a sharp object, called a lancet, thats included in the test kit.
At-home HCV testing is a form of hepatitis C antibody testing and does not test for hepatitis C RNA or the strains genotype. Testing for hepatitis C at home is not a substitute for testing performed by a health care professional, and positive test results may need to be confirmed by laboratory-based testing.
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Preparing Clients For Screening
Once clients are comfortable talking about viral , they might be more willing to undergo screening. However, clients might be anxious about the test itself a reassurance that testing is a simple procedure can help allay these concerns. Many substance use treatment facilities do not offer screening, and clients might need to be referred elsewhere. The following strategies can enhance the discussion of the hepatitis screening process and hepatitis prevention:
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Taking A Hepatitis B Test
Testing for hepatitis B is performed on a sample of blood. A doctor, nurse, or other health care provider can obtain a blood sample using a small needle to draw blood from a vein.
At-home hepatitis B testing requires that users carefully follow instructions provided in the test kit to collect a small sample of blood, package the sample, and mail it to a lab for testing.
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How Long Do Hep B Antibodies Last
How long does protection from hepatitis B vaccine last? Studies indicate that immunologic memory remains intact for at least 30 years among healthy people who initiated hepatitis B vaccination at > 6 months of age. The vaccine confers long-term protection against clinical illness and chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
About Our Hepatitis B Core Antibody Test Igm
This blood test detects IgM antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen to indicate an acute hepatitis B infection. After infection with HBV, the IgM antibody is the first antibody produced by the body to fight off the virus.
The recommended minimum window period for Hepatitis B Core Antibody, IgM is:
- 6 weeks post potential exposure hepatitis B can occasionally be detected as early as 3 weeks post-exposure. For the most accurate results, we recommend getting tested after 6 weeks.
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What Is Being Tested
Hepatitis C is a virus that causes an infection of the liver that is marked by liver inflammation and damage. Hepatitis C tests are a group of tests that are performed to diagnose hepatitis C infection and to guide and monitor treatment of the infection.
Hepatitis C tests include:
Hepatitis C is one of five viruses identified so far, including A, B, D, and E, that are known to cause hepatitis.
HCV is spread when contaminated blood enters the body, primarily though sharing needles and syringes during IV drug use. HCV is spread less commonly by sharing personal items contaminated with blood , through sex with an infected person, needlestick injuries to healthcare workers, unregulated tattooing, and from mother to baby during pregnancy and childbirth. Before tests for HCV became available in the 1990s, HCV was often transmitted by blood transfusions. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C.
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Hepatitis C And Health
How can health-care personnel avoid exposure to HCV?
Avoiding occupational exposure to blood is the primary way to prevent transmission of bloodborne illnesses among health-care personnel. To promote blood safety in the workplace, health-care personnel should consult infectious-disease control guidance from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and from CDC. Depending on the medical procedure involved, Standard Precautions may include the appropriate use of personal protective equipment .
What is the risk of acquiring hepatitis C after being accidentally exposed to HCV-contaminated blood or body fluids in the workplace?
Although sharps injuries have decreased in recent decades due to improved prevention measures, they continue to occur, placing health-care personnel at risk for several bloodborne pathogens like hepatitis C. A recent analysis of several studies revealed an overall 0.2% risk for infection among those exposed to HCV-antibody-positive blood through needlestick or sharps injuries . Updated guidelines for management and treatment of hepatitis Cexternal icon are available to provide guidance for health-care personnel who become infected via exposure to contaminated blood at the workplace.
Other than needlesticks, do other exposures place health-care personnel at risk for hepatitis C?
Should HCV-infected health-care personnel be restricted in their work?
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Tests After The Diagnosis
Once the doctor knows you have hep C, theyâll do tests to find out more about your condition. This will help determine your treatment. They could include:
- Genotype tests to find out which of the six kinds of hepatitis C you have.
- Liver function tests. They measure proteins and enzymes levels, which usually rise 7 to 8 weeks after youâre infected. As your liver gets damaged, enzymes leak into your bloodstream. But you can have normal enzyme levels and still have hepatitis C.
- Tests to check for liver damage. You might get:
- Elastography. Doctors use a special ultrasound machine to feel how stiff your liver is.
- Liver biopsy. The doctor inserts a needle into your liver to take a tiny piece to examine in the lab.
- Imaging tests. These use various methods to take pictures or show images of your insides. They include:
Getting Tested For Hepatitis C
A blood test, called an HCV antibody test, is used to find out if someone has ever been infected with the hepatitis C virus. The HCV antibody test, sometimes called the anti-HCV test, looks for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus in blood. Antibodies are chemicals released into the bloodstream when someone gets infected.
Test results can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to come back. Rapid anti-HCV tests are available in some health clinics and the results of these tests are available in 20 to 30 minutes.
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What Is A Hepatitis B Surface Antibody Test
Hepatitis B surface antibody test is part of a panel of blood tests to diagnose HBV infection. Hepatitis B surface antibody test determines the presence and quantity of anti-HBs in the blood serum, which can indicate protection from HBV infection.
Hepatitis B disease affects the liver and commonly spreads through body fluids such as blood, semen, and vaginal secretions.
Disclosure: Telling Others You Have Hepatitis C
You may be wondering how to tell others that you have tested positive for HCV. First, you don’t have to tell anyone until you are ready however, it is important to tell your healthcare provider because having hepatitis C may influence the medications and tests you get. If you have only a positive antibody test result, you’ll have to decide if you want to disclose now or after your confirmation test. There are two main reasons to tell others: support for yourself and because you think they should get tested for hepatitis C. Think about whom you want to tell, why you want to tell them, how you will tell them, and when and where you will tell them. Make sure you have support by first telling someone who will be there for you.
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