Hepatitis C Virus Antibody Confirmation Serum
Confirming the presence of hepatitis C virus -specific IgG antibodies in serum specimens that are reactive by HCV antibody screening tests
Distinguishing between true- and false-reactive HCV antibody screening test results
This test is not intended for use as an HCV antibody screening test for blood or human cells/tissue donors
This assay is not usefulfor detection of early or acute hepatitis C as immunocompromised patients may not develop detectable HCV antibodies in blood until 6 months after infection
This assay is not useful for differentiating between past and chronic hepatitis C
The Treatment Programs Role In The Screening Process
Medical staff members at substance abuse treatment programs might assume the primary role for screening individuals for and explaining the screening process and test results. Opioid treatment programs with medical staff members should screen for and C at intake and periodically as indicated. In programs without onsite medical staff, clients may be referred elsewhere for screening with minimal involvement of the substance abuse treatment program.
Regardless of the type of program, counselors should have a basic understanding of the importance of screening, the screening process, and the meaning of the results. Counselors can encourage clients referred for screening to follow through and complete the screening and evaluation process . Clients might feel anxious about being diagnosed with hepatitis, and they might delay or avoid getting screened.
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Are There Supplements That Are Good For My Liver
If a person eats a balanced diet, they will normally get enough vitamins and minerals. People with liver disease should avoid taking large amounts of supplements or mega-vitamins. This is because the liver has to do extra work to process them. Your provider may put you on a general multivitamin without iron.
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.
How To Get Tested
Hepatitis C testing is performed by a doctor. Testing requires a blood sample, which can be collected in a hospital, lab, or other medical setting. Blood is often drawn from a vein in the arm or, in children, taken by pricking the skin. After blood is collected, the sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis.
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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.
Hep C Antibodies Do Not Prevent Re
What does it mean, in any real terms? Well, in terms of my status as being cured, it means nothing at all, because we do believe, as a fact, that antibodies for hep C offer no protection and so have no real value. It is interesting to me, and that is only because of my interest in the science of why and how things work, and there is some science that points to diminished antibody presence over time, and is it the same with all treatments? We dont know, and no need to be concerned, unless you too have a mildly science and nerdy side like me.
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What Is The Difference Between Relapse And Nonresponse
The goal of treating chronic hepatitis C is to completely clear the virus. This means that your viral load is zero or so low that the virus cant be detected with standard blood tests.
Without treatment, the hepatitis C virus in liver cells constantly makes copies of itself, and the virus ends up not just in liver cells but also in the bloodstream. Treatment is intended to completely stop reproduction of the virus so that it doesnt continue to enter the bloodstream or cause any more injury to liver cells.
Successful treatment results in a sustained virological response. This means the virus becomes completely undetectable before the treatment is finished, and it remains undetectable for 6 months after treatment is stopped.
A relapse means the viral load drops to an undetectable level before treatment is completed, but becomes detectable again within 6 months after treatment is stopped. Even if the virus returns at a level that is lower than it was before treatment, a relapse is still considered to have occurred. A relapse can be determined if the viral load starts to rise during treatment, or at any time after the virus becomes undetectable.
A nonresponse means the viral load never drops significantly and the virus remains detectable throughout the course of treatment.
What Does A Reactive Hepatitis C Antibody Test Mean
A reactive hepatitis C antibody test means that the patient has hepatitis C antibodies in his blood. However, since a person who has cleared the hepatitis C virus still tests positive for antibodies, a follow-up test is required to determine if he is currently infected, says WebMD.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus. It is spread when blood from an infected person enters the blood stream of a healthy person. Infected people experience symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, joint pain and jaundice. Some patients can live for years without any symptoms, which can lead to advanced liver disease due to delayed treatment. A hepatitis C antibody test is therefore the only sure determiner of a hepatitis C infection, says the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Natural History Following Infection With Hcv
Hepatitis C can present as acute or chronic hepatitis. Most of the cases of acute hepatitis C are asymptomatic. Symptomatic acute hepatitis with jaundice is seen in 10-15% of patients only and can be severe, but fulminant liver failure is rare. Spontaneous clearance is observed in 25-50% of those with symptomatic infection and in 10-15% of those with asymptomatic infection. The natural history following exposure to HCV is summarized in Figure 1.
Natural history following infection with hepatitis C virus
Chronic hepatitis C is marked by the persistence of HCV RNA in the blood for at least 6 months after the onset of acute infection. The risk of progression to chronic infection by HCV is influenced by various factors including:
- Age at the time of infection
- Coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus , HBV
- Concomitant alcohol consumption
- Comorbid conditions like cancer, immunosuppression, insulin resistance, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, obesity, etc.
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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When Should I Get Hepatitis C Testing
When used for early detection in patients without symptoms of hepatitis C, screening is recommended at least once for all adults aged 18 years or older, except in locations with very low prevalence of HCV. Screening is also recommended during pregnancy and for patients of any age with risk factors for HCV infection. In patients with risk factors, periodic screening is recommended for as long as risk factors persist.
Risk factors for HCV include:
- Current or past injectable drug use
- Having a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
- Receiving kidney dialysis
- Pain in the abdomen or joints
- Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
- Jaundice or yellowish skin and eyes
Hepatitis C testing may also be performed when liver tests are abnormal or when diagnosing the cause of existing liver damage.
What Does A Negative Hcv Antibody Test Result Mean
A negative antibody test result usually means that the person has not been infected with hepatitis C .
The body needs at least two months to make antibodies. People with weakened immune systems are not always able to produce antibodies. This might happen in people with autoimmune disorders , HIV-positive people with a CD4 cell count below < 200 cells/mm3, and people taking immunosuppressants.
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Testing For Hepatitis C
Two tests need to be done to discover if you have hepatitis C:
- Antibody test: Which establishes whether you have ever been exposed to the hepatitis C virus.
- PCR test: Which establishes whether the virus is still active and needs treating.
The two tests can often be done from one sample of blood which means you may only need to provide the sample once. Both tests can then be done on your sample at the laboratory. However, some services will perform one test and then call you back for a further blood sample to perform the second test.
A hepatitis C antibody test is the first test undertaken. This is to determine whether you have ever been exposed to the hepatitis C virus. It works by testing for the presence of antibodies to the virus generated by your immune system. If you receive a negative hepatitis C antibody test but have been experiencing symptoms or have been recently exposed to hepatitis C, then you are likely to be advised to have a second test.
It is important to remember that there is a ‘window period’. This is the short period of time when your immune system may not have had time to produce antibodies. It usually takes between six and twelve weeks for these antibodies to develop. However, in a few people it can take up to six months. So if you have the test within this window period and the result is negative, it does not necessarily mean that you don’t have the virus.
How Can I Make A Difference For People With Hepatitis C
Anyone can help raise awareness about this widespread disease. Citizens can write letters to their state representatives or local newspapers and get involved in volunteer efforts with liver disease or Veteran-affiliated organizations . Speaking at support groups and sharing your experience is also a good way to help others with HCV.
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What To Expect During Testing
A healthcare provider will take a blood sample for analysis.
The needle may sting a little as it enters your skin, and you may have a bruise on the site of the draw for a few days.
Results are usually available within a few days or a few weeks at most.
The HCV RNA PCR test is conducted through a process called polymerase chain reaction . There are two approaches to this process: qualitative and quantitative.
Antibody Testing After Treatment
For many years, we have said that people will always have antibodies present when tested, even after being cured. It has mostly been in the context of a person being tested in some future medical investigation unrelated and showing a positive antibody test result. Some who have been cured have shared some confusion when they are informed they have hep C, despite being cured. As this is not always understood well in healthcare, there is no good explanation in that instance from the care provider.
To be fair, I am hearing this less from people, but I suspect it may still occur. I have had a few tests done in recent years as part of my work in testing and linkage to care. The most recent test was with a proven testing mode commonly used, point of care testing . In the process of filming an instructional video to show how these POCTs are done, I was the testing subject. I expected a positive result, as I had lived with hep C and I was cured 10 years ago. My test showed up as negative to my surprise. I retested and got the same result.
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Iatrogenic Exposure And Postexposure Prophylaxis
The potential of health care delivery to transmit HCV to healthcare worker is increasingly being recognized especially if infection control or disinfection practices are inadequate and contaminated equipment is shared among patients. The mechanisms of transmission in the healthcare setting are related to:
- Improperly cleaned, disinfected, or sterilized equipment
- Medication administration
The CDC in collaboration with healthcare infection control practices advisory committee has issued recommendations following occupational exposure to HCV. These recommendations emphasize that each institution should have its own policy regarding follow-up of personnel who sustain percutaneous or permucosal exposure to suspected HCV infected blood. They minimally recommend:
Rna Or Viral Load Test
If you test positively for hepatitis C antibodies, you will need to get a 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.
- If your RNA test result is positive, you may have chronic hepatitis C. Talk to your doctor right away about a treatment plan.
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What The Qualitative Results Mean
The qualitative results indicate that HCV is present in your blood. The test result will be either detected or undetected.
Detected means that you do have the virus in your blood. Undetected means that you dont have the virus in your blood, or you have a tiny amount that cant be detected by this test.
The qualitative test results may still be positive even if your viral load has decreased drastically due to treatment.
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Question 5 How Do You Interpret Hcv Antibody Reactive And Hcv Rna Not
A reactive HCV antibody test result combined with a not-detected HCV RNA result indicates no laboratory evidence of a current active HCV infection no further action is required in most cases.
If distinction between a true positive and a biologic false-positive result for HCV antibody is desired, the CDC suggests that one can consider testing with another HCV antibody assay. If there is concern regarding the handling or storage of the test specimen, obtain a new sample for repeat testing.6
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Other Things To Know:
- After a successful course of treatment for hepatitis C, the hepatitis C antibody remains detectable, but the hepatitis C RNA will be undetectable.
- If you plan to donate blood, you will be tested for the hepatitis C antibody and will be turned away even if you do not have an active infection.
- Any patient with a positive test result for the hepatitis C antibody should have additional tests to determine whether or not the virus is still active.
What Does A Reactive Hcv Antibody Test Result Mean
A reactive or positive antibody test means you have been infected with the hepatitis C virus at some point in time.
Once people have been infected, they will always have antibodies in their blood. This is true if they have cleared the virus, have been cured, or still have the virus in their blood.
A reactive antibody test does not necessarily mean that you currently have hepatitis C and a follow-up test is needed.
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Negative But Other Hepatitis Tests Are Positive
Your HBsAb test may be negative even when other hepatitis B tests are positive, showing active or chronic infection. Further testing is necessary, especially for the hepatitis B surface antigen , which shows that the virus itself is circulating in your bloodstream and that you have an active or chronic infection.
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