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.
Hepatitis C Testing Types
Testing for hep C starts off with a hep C antibody test. This test looks for human antibodies something that your body produces to fight the virus. If your hep C antibody test result is positive, then it means you have been exposed to the hep C virus at some point.
If you get a positive antibody result, then your sample of blood is tested again using a PCR test. This test looks for parts of the actual hep C virus. If the PCR test result is positive it means that you have hep C. Have a look at our Hep C Testing chart for more info on hep C tests.
How Can I Cover Medication Costs
New therapies called direct-acting antivirals are effective and can achieve cures of over 90%. Because these new therapies are very new, they remain very expensive. As such, drug coverage from both government and private companies may require that your liver disease has progressed to a certain stage before they are willing to cover the cost of these drugs.
Talk with your healthcare provider about financial support that may be available.
Below are useful resources when looking for financial assistance:Private health insurance or drug plansIf you have private health insurance or a drug plan at work, you may be able to have the medication paid through your plan. Please consult your private health insurance or drug plan provider to see if your drug is covered.
Publicly funded plansEach provincial and territorial government offers a drug benefit plan for eligible groups. Some are income-based universal programs. Most have specific programs for population groups that may require more enhanced coverage for high drug costs. These groups include seniors, recipients of social assistance, and individuals with diseases or conditions that are associated with high drug costs. For more details, please contact your provincial or territorial health care ministry, or click on the appropriate link below.
Available Patient Assistance Programs for Hepatitis C treatment Holkira Pak Maviret
MerckCare Hepatitis C Program 1 872-5773 Zepatier
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What Does The Test Result Mean
Screening and diagnosis
An HCV antibody test is typically reported as “positive” or “negative.”
Results of HCV viral load testing are reported as a number of virus copies present. If no virus is present or if the amount of virus is too low to detect, the result is often reported as “negative” or “not detected.”
Interpretation of the HCV screening and follow-up tests is shown in the table below.
- In general, if your HCV antibody test is positive, then you have likely been infected at some time with hepatitis C.
- If the laboratory reports results as weakly positive, most of these results are false positive and some laboratories will retest your sample with another test before reporting it as positive.
- If your HCV RNA test is positive, then you have a current infection.
- If no HCV viral RNA is detected, then you either do not have an active infection or the virus is present in very low numbers.
|Negative||No infection or it is too soon after exposure and HCV antibody has not yet developed if suspicion remains high, an HCV RNA test is done.|
|Past infection or no infection|
|Positive||Current, active infection|
Guiding and monitoring treatment
The result of your HCV genotype test identifies which strain of HCV you have and helps guide the selection and the length of your treatment. Treatments may differ depending on a variety of factors, including HCV genotype and the health of your liver.
An HCV viral load can indicate whether or not treatment is effective.
What Do The Results Mean
A negative result means you probably don’t have a hepatitis infection. A positive result may mean you have or previously had an infection from hepatitis A, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. You may need more tests to confirm a diagnosis. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
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Prior To Vaccination: Pre
- Some patients should be tested for existing immunity to hepatitis A, before vaccination these patients should be tested only for Hep A IgG
- Patients who should be tested prior to vaccination are those who have a reasonable likelihood of previous hepatitis A infection, such as:
- People born in geographic areas with high or intermediate prevalence of hepatitis A
- Native Americans
If You Are A Baby Boomer Heres Another Item For Your To Do List: Get Tested For Hepatitis C
As the youngest of its generation turns 50 this year, AARP has declared 2014 the Year of the Boomer.
There are many ways in which boomers contributions to society can be recognized and celebrated. But if you are one of the 77 million Americans born after the Second World War, your special year would take on greater meaning if you were to pause and think about your liver health.
Specifically, the American Liver Foundation is appealing to you to take the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and get tested for hepatitis C.
Why, you may be thinking, are you being asked to do this? The facts speak for themselves: Anyone can get hepatitis C, but baby boomers are five times more likely to be infected.
Of all the people in the United States who have hepatitis C, more than 75 percent were born between 1945 and 1965.
Over all, considering that an estimated 3.2 million people have hepatitis C in the United States, the disease has been described as an unrecognized health crisis.
There are vaccines available for the hepatitis A and B viruses, but no vaccine is available yet to prevent hepatitis C. So testing for hepatitis C is critical to finding and treating the disease at its earliest stages.
Hepatitis C the silent epidemic
The longer the virus goes undetected, the greater a persons risk of developing serious liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Why is the baby boom generation so susceptible?
What does the test involve?
Hep C 123 Program
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If I Have Hepatitis A How Long Will I Be Contagious
According to the World Health Organization, you can spread the disease to others roughly 1 to 3 weeks before symptoms, such as jaundice, begin to appear. Symptoms typically develop within 4 weeks but can appear any time between 2 and 6 weeks after you are first infected. You can continue to be contagious, but less so, for several weeks after jaundice develops.
Addressing Hepatitis For The First Time
It is crucial that a treatment counselor or health professional use a nonjudgmental and compassionate tone. Clients need to feel comfortable disclosing information about their health and risky behaviors. The following strategies can help initiate the conversation:
- Display posters, literature, or other -related items that could help prompt the client to ask questions about hepatitis. .
- Assess clients ability to discuss , based on their degree of openness in the counseling session, the amount of detail they provide in their responses, and the length of the therapeutic relationship.
- Raise the subject in a way that avoids making clients feel defensive or afraid. Consider introducing the subject by making parallels with other conditions that have been discussed. Say, for example, You said you were tested for HIV several times. Were you ever tested for viral ? or You mentioned that your friend is sick with HIV. Have you been tested for HCV or HIV? Tell me about those tests.
- Be patient and allow time for multiple, short conversations about the subject. This might ease feelings of fear, anxiety, or shame.
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Should You Be Tested For Hepatitis
Millions of Americans are living with chronic hepatitis but most don’t know they have the infectious disease. That’s why the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention is promoting May 19 as Hepatitis Testing Day. In the U. S., the most common forms of the infection are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C . Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist Dr. Stacey Rizza says all forms hepatitis are dangerous for the person infected and that HCV is of particular concern. She explains it’s also an issue for the public.
“If somebody gets cancer or gets diabetes or gets arthritis, that is a problem for them, but it doesnt, in fact, impact anybody else in their health. Whereas in infectious diseases, as well as hepatitis C, if somebody gets hepatitis C, not only could it impact them, but they could potentially transmit it to others so it has more of a domino effect in society,” says Dr. Rizza. “Thats why we care so much about infectious diseases, and decreasing the incidence so that there are fewer people to infect other people.”
Baby boomers account for 75 percent of HCV infections however, a new demographic is rising. The opioid crisis in the U.S. has been linked to increases in both hepatitis B and hepatitis C in people under the age of 40, specifically those who inject drugs. The CDC says these infections have reached epidemic proportions in many areas of the nation.
Those who should get tested include:
Hepatitis A Anitbody Test
This test detects whether you have produced antibodies known as immunoglobulin M and immunoglobulin G against the hepatitis A virus .
Remember too that the test will also come back positive for IgG if you have had the hepatitis A vaccination. It is presumed that one infection with hepatitis A produces lasting immunity against further infection.
If youve been diagnosed with hepatitis A, you can find out more about the condition, how to manage it and how best to look after yourself by downloading our publication on hepatitis A
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Letsgetchecked Hepatitis B And C Test
- Price: $$
- Pros: tests for both hepatitis B and C, includes option to speak with a nurse if you test positive
- Cons: no option to test for hepatitis C only
If you want to buy a hepatitis C test from LetsGetChecked, you have to buy the hepatitis B and C testing bundle.
The hepatitis B surface antigen test checks for hepatitis B specific antigens and antibodies in the blood. A positive test means you can transmit the virus, but it cant tell you if you have a chronic or acute infection.
Additionally, a negative test will only tell you that youre not currently contagious. You can test negative and still have hepatitis B. LetsGetChecked doesnt include this info on the product page.
Testing for hepatitis C involves an HCV antibody test. Youll need additional testing if you test positive for HCV antibodies.
Tests from LetsGetChecked should be safe and accurate when used as directed. Still, you should talk with your doctor about your results.
Both the hepatitis B and C tests involve taking a finger prick sample. You can take the sample in the morning and send it back the same day.
Results should arrive within 2 to 5 business days. If either test returns a positive result, a nurse will get in touch to go over what this means. However, we recommend also going over your results with your doctor.
- Pros: includes comprehensive STI testing
- Cons: not available in all states, some customer service complaints
You can use an FSA or HSA account to pay for the test, or pay out of pocket.
Educating Clients About Viral Hepatitis
Clients may believe they know about viral , but their understanding of the disease may not be accurate. It is easy to confuse the three main types of viral , B, and C. Clients may have formed impressions based on limited or incorrect information. Counselors should briefly describe hepatitis A, B, and C, including their prevalence, , and relationship to drug use, as well as to other infections, such as HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. Specific strategies for speaking with clients include:
- Speak clearly and keep the message simple, focused, and brief.
- Use language, examples, and concepts that the client understands.
- Use appropriate visual aids.
- Frame numerical statements in terms that are easy to visualize. Say 5 out of 100 people rather than 5 percent of the population say more than half instead of the majority.
- Repeat the information at different times in different ways. The average client retains only approximately one-third of what he or she is told. Summarize essential points.
- Pay attention to a clients response to the information. For example, if a client stiffens his or her posture, consider saying, I notice that this topic seems to make you uncomfortable. It does for a lot of people. Please tell me what youre feeling right now. Id really like to help you with this.
- Use the opportunity to describe the potential detrimental effects of alcohol and other substance use on the liver of a person who is infected with HCV.
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What Is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus that is spread when blood from an infected individual enters the body of someone who is not infected. The HCV infection can cause both chronic and acute hepatitis in an individual. Acute hepatitis describes individuals who have only had the hepatitis C virus infection for 6 months or less, which is considered an acute infection. In chronic hepatitis cases, the infection is long-term. A chronic infection is a significant risk factor for liver disease and liver cancer, and is potentially life-threatening if left untreated.
If you think you may be at risk, taking our hep C test kit can help you check if you have this infection. Our HCV test is quick and easy to take , and you can conveniently view your results on our secure, online platform.
What Is Being Tested
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus . It is one of several various causes of hepatitis, a condition characterized by inflammation and enlargement of the liver. This test detects antibodies in the blood that are produced by the immune system in response to a hepatitis A infection.
Hepatitis A is one of five “hepatitis viruses” identified so far, including B, C, D, and E, that are known to cause the disease. While hepatitis A can cause a severe, acute disease that typically lasts 1 to 2 months, it does not cause a chronic infection as do some of the other hepatitis viruses.
Hepatitis A is spread, most commonly, from person-to person through stool contamination or by ingesting food or water contaminated by the stool of an infected person . Recognized risk factors for hepatitis A include close contact with an infected person, international travel, household or personal contact with a child who attends a child care center, household or personal contact with a newly arriving international adoptee, a recognized foodborne outbreak, men who have sex with men, and use of illegal drugs.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is really contagious. Its transmitted through contact with semen , vaginal fluids, and blood. You can get it from:
having vaginal, anal, or oral sex
sharing toothbrushes and razors
sharing needles for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.
getting stuck with a needle that has the Hep B virus on it.
Hepatitis B can also be passed to babies during birth if their mother has it.
Hepatitis B isnt spread through saliva , so you CANT get hepatitis B from sharing food or drinks or using the same fork or spoon. Hepatitis B is also not spread through kissing, hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or breastfeeding.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
- Most people with hepatitis C do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected. Hepatitis C may not cause symptoms for years or even decades, while slowly damaging the liver.
- People with chronic hepatitis C can live for decades without symptoms or feeling sick. When symptoms do appear, they are often a sign of advanced liver disease.
- Symptoms of hepatitis C may include:
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Hepatitis C Screening: Questions For The Doctor
Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus . The most common way to get hepatitis C is by coming into contact with the blood of someone who has it.
Everyone ages 18 to 79 needs to get tested for hepatitis C at least once.
Many people who have hepatitis C live for years without feeling sick. But the virus can still damage your liver even when there arent any symptoms. You could also spread the virus to others without knowing it.
The only way to know for sure if you have hepatitis C is to get a blood test. Medicine can cure most cases of hepatitis C.