Once I Have Been Treated And/or Recovered From Hepatitis C Can I Get Infected Again
Yes. A prior infection with HCV does not protect you from another infectionit does not make you immune to HCV. Most people do not have an effective immune response to the virus. Changes that the virus undergoes as it replicates during an infection make it difficult for the body to fight against the initial or subsequent infections.
How To Test For Hep C
If you suspect you may have a hepatitis C infection, taking a hepatitis C test can be a great start in addition to consulting your healthcare provider for next steps. Our at-home hepatitis C test is a convenient way to check for this virus. To check for hepatitis C with this test, you just collect a small sample of blood with a simple finger prick, then ship the sample to a lab for testing with the prepaid shipping label that comes with the kit.
If your results from our hepatitis C test indicate that you do have this viral infection, share your results with your healthcare provider right away so you can take the next steps they recommend.
Meaning Of Hcv Viral Load
The number of HCV RNA international units per milliliter of blood must be measured before treatment and during the course of treatment, to assess response. Before treatment, however, the HCV viral load is not related to the patient’s liver disease severity or HCV prognosis. This is important for patients and providers to understand.
Note: In hepatitis B, unlike hepatitis C, a higher HBV DNA viral load does correlate with increased disease severity and increased likelihood of outcomes such as hepatocellular carcinoma.
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.
What Causes Hepatitis C
As mentioned above, hepatitis C comes from a virusâthe hepatitis C virus. Globally, there are currently seven known HCV genotypes, which are categories of the virus that share the same genes. The virus can be further broken down into over 67 known subtypes. Types 1a and 1b are the most common, particularly in North America, Europe, and Japan.
The HCV genotype and subtype generally do not matter in terms of how the virus progresses, though some evidence shows that genotype 3 causes liver disease to progress more quickly. However, the viral genotype can determine the type of treatment options available to you.
Read Also: What Are The Effects Of Hepatitis B
Do I Need To Be Tested For Hepatitis C
People with hepatitis C may not show symptoms until liver problems show up, underscoring the importance of getting tested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all adults aged 18 years and older to get tested at least once in their lifetime. For those who have HIV, injected drugs or shared needles and syringes, or received a transfusion or organ transplant, testing is recommended regardless of age.
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.
Read Also: The Signs Of Hepatitis C
Your Instant Hepatitis C Testing Process
Better2Knows experienced sexual health advisors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience. They will listen to your circumstances, concerns and help you select the sexual health test or screen that most suits your requirements. Your call and appointment are completely confidential. You do not have to give us your real name at any time, and we will not share your results with anyone without your consent.
How It Is Done
The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with alcohol.
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
- Put pressure on the site, and then put on a bandage.
Recommended Reading: Can A Hepatitis B Carrier Get Vaccinated
How Can You Test For Hepatitis C
There are a few ways to test for hep C effectively, including:
- Visiting a doctors office: People with a primary care physician and insurance may wish to schedule a visit to their doctor to get checked out. Getting tested with your own doctor makes diagnosis and treatment plans easier. However, it also costs more, requires that you go through insurance and can be embarrassing. Its not always necessary.
- Head to a clinic: There are a number of community clinics that will test for STD infections at no cost or a reduced rate. Planned Parenthood is a popular nonprofit, and even for-profit clinics often have pro bono days if you know when to look for them. Even these come with the cost of time, effort and potential embarrassment. Therefore, the best way to test for hepatitis C in many cases is to
- Test at home: At-home test kits are growing in popularity and reliability. These simple to use test kits require nothing more than that you order them online, collect a sample at home and put your sample in the mail for testing at a lab. You can do this as often as necessary, with total privacy, without the shame or embarrassment that comes with visiting a doctor.
Ready to take control of your sexual health? Start today and order your iDNA Home STD Test Kit today!
What Is A Hepatitis C Screening
Testing for hepatitis C involves a blood test called an HCV antibody test . This test determines if youve ever had a hepatitis C infection by checking your blood for HCV-specific antibodies.
If you test positive for HCV antibodies, youll need to undergo follow-up testing. Having antibodies doesnt mean you currently have an active infection. It may simply mean that you have had a prior exposure that your immune system cleared.
To check whether you have an active infection, a doctor will order a nucleic acid test . A positive result means the virus is currently active in your bloodstream. If you get a negative result, the virus was once in your body, but its not anymore.
- have HIV
- have ever had a needle-stick injury or potentially been exposed to HCV-positive blood
- have had a tattoo or piercing done outside of a professional sterile environment
According to the , HCV may be passed through sexual activity, though this isnt common. The agency notes that your risk may be increased if you:
- have a sexually transmitted infection
- have sex with multiple partners
- have anal sex
You May Like: What Is Hepatitis 1 And 2
The Test Is Quick And Easy
A simple blood test can tell if you’ve ever had the virus. The results usually come back in a few days, but some clinics have rapid versions that can be read in as little as 20 minutes. If it comes back negative, but there’s a chance you were exposed in the last 6 months, get tested again.
If the first results are positive, you had hepatitis C at some point. A second test will check to see if the original case cleared up or became chronic . If it’s chronic, you’ll need to see a doctor who specializes in treating the disease.
Potential Sites For Screening For Hepatitis C
Screening for hepatitis C can be offered in several venues the most likely are primary care offices, emergency rooms, urgent care clinics, and public health fairs.
Following the CDC recommendation, 3 studies were presented at the 2013 meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Washington, DC. One study was conducted in an emergency department, the second in the outpatient clinics of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and the third involved individuals undergoing screening colonoscopies for colorectal cancer at a community hospital.- All 3 studies confirmed the higher prevalence of positive serum anti-HCV in individuals born in the years 1945-1965.
Recommended Reading: Colloidal Silver And Hepatitis C
Who Is At Risk For Hep C
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the most at-risk groups for hep C include :
- Current or former injection drug users
- People with HIV infection, which makes transmission of the drug through lower immune system function more likely
- People who share razors or toothbrushes
- People who have unprotected sex, especially with STDs such as herpes, which can cause open sores
- Babies born to mothers infected with the hepatitis C virus
- Healthcare workers who suffer a needlestick accident, in which they prick themselves with an infected syringe
- People who go to unregulated tattoo parlors
People who contract the virus first suffer acute hepatitis C, with symptoms such as fever, fatigue, dark urine, clay-colored stool, nausea and abdominal pain, loss of appetite, joint pain, vomiting and jaundice. If you see any of these signs, its time to get tested immediately. Unfortunately, these symptoms tend to pass within a few weeks, leading many people to dismiss them. Moreover, adds the CDC, only 20-30 percent of people who get infected even manifest such symptoms.
From there, the disease goes into a long latent period, usually of decades. Eventually they develop chronic hepatitis C, which can lead to loss of liver function and eventually death, if left untreated. Sadly, the disease is transmitted more frequently than we would like.
Best Overall: Everlywell Hepatitis C Test
Everlywell Hepatitis C Test
Why We Chose It: We chose Everlywell because it has affordable and easy-to-use, physician-reviewed tests.
Test is under roughly $50
Least invasive test: finger prick
Physician reviewed tests
Connect with physician about results
Results may take a few days
Everlywell checks all the boxes: Not only is the test affordable, but the results are easy to understand.
To use the test, you’ll first clean your finger with the alcohol pad, then use the lancet to collect a few drops of blood and put them on the collection card. Seal the collection card in the biohazard bag, and then mail your sample to a CLIA-certified lab with the prepaid return label. The test is easy-to-use and results should be returned in a matter of days.
The data is delivered straight to your device where it is protected by bank-grade encryption. The test will inform you whether you have been infected with the hepatitis C virus. If your results appear abnormal, you can connect with an independent physician in the network at no additional cost to discuss your results.
You can get the test for roughly $50, or with a membership, you can save nearly 50% and pay about $25.
Read Also: How Long Is The Hepatitis B Vaccine Good For
Recommendations Regarding Linkage To Care
All persons identified with active hepatitis C infection should be linked to a medical provider who can provide competent and comprehensive management of HCV. Available data suggest that in the current era, nonspecialists can effectively manage HCV, especially with back up and consultation for more complicated issues. The management of patients with decompensated cirrhosis should always involve a hepatologist. In addition, persons with HCV who have renal insufficiency or extrahepatic complications of HCV infection will likely require referral to a specialist. An individual with a positive HCV antibody test but negative HCV RNA level does not require a referral for further evaluation and management of HCV infection.
Also Check: What Does Hepatitis C Cause
Time For Processing Hcv Ab Test Results
The turnaround time for 3rd-generation EIAs is at least 1 day. Many labs do not perform the tests on site and must send specimens to another lab for processing, which may further increase the turnaround time.
A point-of-care test is also available. The OraQuick® HCV Rapid Antibody Test is an FDA-approved test that can be performed with a fingerstick . It is also a CLIA-waived test and therefore can be used in clinic offices and outreach facilities. Results are reported as reactive or nonreactive within 20 minutes. Just as for the standard HCV Ab test done in the lab, a positive OraQuick® test must be confirmed by an HCV RNA test. The sensitivity and specificity of the test is similar to that of the laboratory-based assays.
You May Like: How Do You Get Hepatitis Ab And C
Do I Need A Hepatitis Panel
Few reasons that have prompted your healthcare provider to order the hepatitis panel for you are: You have exhibited some acute symptoms of hepatitis and the type of virus A, B, or C is not known. You carry an elevated risk of hepatitis infection due to recent exposure and a hepatitis panel may be recommended to determine the type of virus behind the hepatitis infection. Your doctor may ask you to undergo the test even in the absence of symptoms. If you show signs of liver damage, then the hepatitis panel test is a must for you. Some of the overriding symptoms that prompt a hepatitis panel test are: Loss of appetite Illegal drugs
Dont Miss: Hepatitis C Results 0.1
More Information About The Test And Hepatitis
The hepatitis test kits detect antibodies in the serum/plasma or blood through the use of specific complementary antibody markers. Diagnosis consists of one screening test.
The hepatitis A IgM virus test detects the IgM antibodies produced by the body in defense against the virus. The HBsAb hepatitis B surface antibody test detects the antibodies complementary to the hepatitis B antigens presented on cells during infection by the hepatitis B virus. The hepatitis C virus test detects cells of the immune system raised specifically against the hepatitis C virus. The hepatitis E IgM virus test detects the IgM antibodies produced by the immune system in defense against the hepatitis E virus.
The test time varies depending on which test is taken. In the case of a positive result, one should consult with their doctor to consider the first stage of treatment. Our hepatitis test kits have been shown to be accurate in 98-99% of cases, clearly demonstrating their reliability. However, several conditions can change the hepatitis antibody levels and so we recommend consultation with a doctor to discuss abnormal results. Certain factors may influence the result of the test, for instance, some herbs or other natural products, possibly requiring the test to be re-administered.
Also Check: How Do You Catch Hepatitis A
When To Get Tested
For screening: at least once when you are age 18 years or older when you are pregnant when you have risk factors for HCV infection, regardless of age
For diagnosis: when you may have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus, such as through injection drug use, or when you have signs and symptoms associated with liver disease
For monitoring: before, during, and after hepatitis C treatment
How Is Hepatitis C Treated
Hepatitis C can be treated with antiviral medicines designed to stop the virus from multiplying inside the body and to prevent liver damage. The sooner the treatment begins after exposure to the Hepatitis C virus, the more likely it is to succeed.
If the virus is cleared with treatment, you are not immune to future infections of Hepatitis C.
Recommended Reading: Hepatitis C Sexually Transmitted Disease
Who Releases First Guidelines On Hepatitis C Virus Self
New guidelines from WHO strongly recommend offering self-testing for hepatitis C virus as an additional approach to HCV testing services. WHO releases the new guidelines its first on HCV self-testing during the International AIDS Society Conference 2021.
WHO set a goal to eliminate HCV as a public health problem by 2030 in its Global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis , with targets to diagnose 90% of those with HCV and to treat 80% of those diagnosed. However, as of 2019 only an estimated 21% of the 58 million people with chronic HCV infection globally were diagnosed. And, despite recent advances in highly effective and affordable direct-acting antiviral treatment, only 9.4 million were treated with DAAs between 2015 and 2019. In many settings people from key populations, particularly men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs, have high rates of HCV infection but do not benefit from testing and treatment. WHOs guidance on HCV self-testing is meant to support the efforts of national programmes to reach people who may not otherwise test.
Evidence of impact and experience with HIV self-testing was an impetus to consider self-testing for HCV. Development of the HCV self-testing guidelines also drew on compelling evidence of the acceptability and usability of HCV self-testing for both users and providers in almost a dozen countries from different regions and confirmation that the great majority of lay users are able to perform HCV self-testing.