Results Of The Hbcab Test
There are two variations of antibodies. The IgM antibody is the largest antibody and the first produced in an infection. It shows that you may have a current, active infection. Sometimes it persists for years, but it usually drops to undetectable levels.
The HBcAb IgG variant is produced later in the course of the infection, and it’s likely that you will have a positive HBcAb IgG test the rest of your life.
The screening panel usually has a test that is for total HBcAb, which includes both IgM and IgG. The IgM test may be ordered to help determine if you have an acute infection.
A positive HBcAb test must be interpreted along with the results of the other tests. You may have an active or chronic infection, or you may be immune to hepatitis B due to past infection. Discuss the results with your healthcare provider. In any case, a positive HBcAb test means your blood or organs cannot be donated to a recipient.
Getting Tested Is The Only Way To Know If You Have Hepatitis
A blood test called a hepatitis C antibody test can tell if you have been infected with the hepatitis C virus either recently or in the past. If you have a positive antibody test, another blood test is needed to tell if you are still infected or if you were infected in the past and cleared the virus on your own.
How Does Hepatitis C Progress
When someone is first infected with hepatitis C, most likely they have no symptoms and are unaware. Occasionally people experience fatigue, loss of appetite, weakness or sometimes having a yellow color in their skin or eyes. Although having any symptoms at all is rare, if they do occur, they usually go away within a few weeks.
Around 15-25% of people who are infected will spontaneously fight off the virus on their own and they will not have a chronic hepatitis C infection and no long term damage occurs.
But around 75-85% of people will develop chronic infection. Most of the time, people with chronic hepatitis C have no symptoms at the time of infection and no symptoms for years or even decades of chronic infection. The virus will be with them until they are successfully treated with hepatitis C medications.
Around 10-20% of people with chronic infection will slowly have gradual damage in the liver over years and will eventually develop cirrhosis . This can take 20 years or more from the time of the initial infection.
Cirrhosis is the replacement of liver cells with permanent scar tissue. Cirrhosis can lead to problems such as bleeding from veins in the esophagus, fluid buildup in the belly, and damaged brain function.Approximately 15% of people with cirrhosis will develop liver cancer during their lifetime. Drinking excessively can double the chance of liver cancer in people infected with HCV.
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How Is The Hbcab Test Done
This is a blood test. A clinician will fill a tube with blood taken from a vein in your arm through which a needle is inserted. If you are giving blood, a sample will be taken from the blood you’re donating. The blood is sent to a lab, where it is tested. Sometimes HBcAb will be added on to lab orders when results from other tests indicate there may be a hepatitis B infection.
What The Quantitative Results Mean
The quantitative test results indicate the exact amount of HCV in your blood. This number helps your doctor confirm whether you have a high or low viral load.
Measuring your viral load before treatment allows your doctor to monitor your viral load during and after treatment.
The viral load measurement doesnt indicate how severe your HCV infection or cirrhosis is. Your doctor will need to take a biopsy, or tissue sample, from your liver to learn more about how your liver has been affected by an HCV infection.
The viral load results from the quantitative PCR test can range from 15 to 100,000,000 IU/L.
If your results are:
- Fewer than 15 IU/mL: The virus is detected, but the amount cant be measured exactly. You may need to return later for another test to see if the measurement changes.
- Fewer than 800,000 IU/mL: A low viral load is detected.
- More than 800,000 IU/mL: A high viral load is detected.
- More than 100,000,000 IU/mL: The virus is detected and active infection is taking place.
- Inconclusive: HCV RNA cant be measured, and a new sample needs to be taken.
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What Is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It is a member of the family of viruses that includes hepatitis A and hepatitis B. These viruses behave differently and have different modes of transmission. Hepatitis C can cause serious liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer, and even death.
Question 2 For Whom Is Hcv Screening Recommended
The US Preventive Services Task Force and the CDC recommend 1-time screening for HCV infection for adults born 1945 through 1965.2,3 One-time screening is also recommended for adults with high risk due to:
- Injection drug use 3,4
- Receipt of transfusions or organ transplants prior to July 19923,4
- Having ever received long-term hemodialysis3,4
- Receipt of clotting factor concentrates produced before 19873,4
- HIV infection the co-infection rate among this group is 20% to 30%5
Screening is also recommended for children born to HCV-positive mothers.3,4
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Who Should Get A Hepatitis C Screening
If youre under 18, you may or may not need a parents or guardians consent to get tested. State laws on minor consent for medical care vary. If youve been exposed to hepatitis C or feel that you need a test for any reason, dont let your age stop you from getting the medical help you need.
If left untreated, hepatitis C can have serious consequences for your health. If you test positive, you can also pass the virus onto others.
The recommends universal hepatitis C screening for:
- all adults aged 18 and over
- pregnant people
What Does High/low Viral Load Mean
Viral load is the amount of virus present in the bloodstream. It is expressed as the amount of viral genetic material per milliliter of blood. The amount of virus does not predict how severe the liver disease is or will become. The level of the viral load does not tell us anything about the risk of liver damage or how sick someone is. In hepatitis C, it matters if virus is present or absent. Some treatment regimens can be shortened if the patient has a low viral load to start with, but most often, treatment regimens are the same for people with high hepatitis C viral loads or low viral loads.
The RNA test is essential for making the diagnosis of hepatitis C infection–having a positive RNA test is the definition of having infection. After the diagnosis is made, the RNA level does not need to be checked over and over unless it is checked during the time that the patient is undergoing treatment. During treatment, regular RNA tests are done to follow the dropping virus level until it reaches an undetectable state. But before treatment and after treatment, repeated RNA testing is not necessary.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne illness, meaning it is transmitted via contact with infected blood. Usually the virus enters the body through a puncture wound on the skin. The most common way hepatitis C is transmitted is via injection drug use. Sharing dirty needles with someone who is infected can transmit hepatitis C. Health care professionals may contract the virus via needlestick injury. Prior to 1992, the U.S. blood supply was not screened the way it is today, so some people contracted hepatitis C from infected blood transfusions. Rarely, babies born to hepatitis C-infected mothers acquire the virus. Hepatitis C can also be spread by having sex with an infected person or sharing personal items with someone who has the virus, but these cases are rare.
Hepatitis C Testing And Diagnosis
Doctors will start by checking your blood for:
Anti-HCV antibodies: This blood test is the first — and sometimes only — one you may get. Also called the ELISA screen, it checks for antibodies that your body releases to fight the virus. These are proteins your body makes when it finds the hep C virus in your blood. They usually show up about 12 weeks after infection. Your test will be either negative or positive for antibodies. It usually takes a few days to a week to get results, though a rapid test is available in some places.
What the results mean
Negative . This is when your blood shows no signs of HCV antibodies. Most of the time, thatâs because you never came in contact with the virus and you do not have hep C.
Sometimes, your negative result can be false, meaning you have HCV. That may happen if you:
- Took the test too soon after your exposure. This test checks for only HCV antibodies, which can take several months to appear.
- Have HIV, a donated organ, or other conditions that weaken your immune system, which can suppress your antibodies
- Get hemodialysis for kidney problems
If youâve been exposed in the last 6 months, youâll need to be retested.
Positive . This means youâve been infected with HCV. But false positives are surprisingly common. More than 1 in 5 people who test positive donât actually have hepatitis C. Possible reasons include:
What the results mean
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What Is Hepatitis
Hepatitis means “inflammation of the liver.” Hepatitis can be caused by a virus, such as hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis can also be caused by alcohol . There are other conditions that can cause other types of hepatitis but these are the main causes. Longstanding hepatitis–from viruses or alcohol–can lead to scarring in the liver called cirrhosis.
What Is A Biopsy
A biopsy is a medical procedure. A tiny piece of liver is removed and examined to find out the extent of damage. It involves a large needle and local anesthetic, as well as some risk of bleeding. A pathologist looks at the piece of liver under microscopes to determine how much damage has occurred in the liver. This is a very useful test and used to be done very commonly. However, the procedure is done much less frequently than in the past. For most patients with hepatitis B and C, liver biopsy is not required. Today, other tests can be used to try to estimate the fibrosis in the liver.
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What Is Hepatitis B Surface Antibody
When you are exposed to hepatitis B, your body mounts an immune reaction against it as an invader. This happens whether you are exposed due to blood or sexual contact or if you are vaccinated with the hepatitis B vaccine.
The hepatitis B virus has proteins on its surface that cause your immune system to produce antibodies. With the vaccine, the sample contains the protein only and not the virus itself.
The first response your body will make when exposed to hepatitis B is to manufacture hepatitis B IgM antibodies. These early antibodies are produced to fight against several parts of the virus including its core. These antibodies are seen in the initial response, but they eventually fade away.
Your immune system then begins to produce IgG antibodies. It continues to produce these antibodies for the rest of your life. In this way, your immune system is always ready to attack hepatitis B virus when it is exposed to it.
What Does It Mean When Different Types Of Blood Tests For Hepatitis C Give Different Results
The first test your provider probably will perform is called an “antibody” test. A positive result means that you were exposed to the hepatitis C virus at some point in your life.
If the result is positive, your provider will perform a second test called hepatitis C virus RNA to see if the virus is still in your body. If the RNA test result is positive, then you have chronic hepatitis C infection.
So what does it mean if you have a positive result for the first test but a negative result for the second?
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Hcv Core Antigen Testing
The hepatitis C core antigen is a viral protein. Since the core antigen is part of hepatitis C virus, it can usually be found in the bloodstream two weeks after infection.
Since HCV core antigen testing is simpler and less expensive than viral-load testing, some experts suggest using it in resource-limited settings. Core antigen testing can be usedoften with HCV antibody testingto detect acute HCV or to confirm chronic HCV infection. HCV core antigen testing can also be used to measure treatment outcome. Although it does not detect low levels of HCV , usually the hepatitis C viral load is much higher in people who relapse after HCV treatment.
How Is Hepatitis C Diagnosed
Hepatitis C infection is diagnosed with several blood tests. The hepatitis C antibody test checks for antibodies that fight the virus. A “non-reactive” result means that antibodies to the virus are not detected. A “reactive” result means antibodies to the virus are present, but the test is unable to indicate whether the infection is current or in the past. Another blood test assessing the presence of hepatitis C genetic material is available. The results of this test can help doctors determine whether hepatitis C infection is current or not. Additional blood tests can be used to determine the amount of virus in the body, known as a titer.
When someone has confirmed hepatitis C infection, the doctor will order more tests to assess the degree of liver damage. A liver biopsy may be performed. There are several different strains of hepatitis C virus that respond to different treatments. For this reason, the doctor will order a test to determine the genotype of the hepatitis C infection to help determine the course of treatment.
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Who Is Most At Risk Of Contracting Hepatitis C
You have a high risk of contracting hepatitis C if you:
- use or have used injection drugs even if it was just once or many years ago
- have received blood or blood products or an organ transplant before July 1990 in Canada
- have been in jail or
- have been injected or scratched during vaccination, surgery, blood transfusion or a religious/ceremonial ritual in regions where hepatitis C is common.
You have a high moderate risk of contracting hepatitis C if you:
- have tattoos or body piercing
- have multiple sexual partners
- have a sexually transmitted infection , including HIV or lymphogranuloma venereum
- have experienced traumatic sex or rough sex or have used sex toys or fisting that can tear body tissue
- have vaginal sex during menstruation
- have received a kidney treatment
- have received an accidental injury from a needle or syringe
- have another infectious disease
- were born to a hepatitis C infected mother or
- have a sexual partner infected with hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is NOT passed from person to person by:
- coughing, sneezing
- breastfeeding unless your nipples are cracked and bleeding or
- oral sex, unless blood is present.
What Foods Should I Avoid
Everyone should avoid eating a lot of fat, cholesterol, salt and processed sugar, even if their liver is healthy. In addition, those with HCV should limit or avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol will speed up liver damage.
Eating properly can help decrease some of the symptoms of Hepatitis C, like feeling tired and sick. Drink lots of water for general health benefits. HCV is not a digestive disease diet will not affect the disease. Your provider may put you on a special diet if you have advanced liver disease.
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.
Hepatitis B Surface Antigen
Recent onset of hepatitis B infection. No evidence of recent hepatitis B infection. Test Notes It should be noted that the assay performance characteristics of the Hepatitis B Surface Antigen assay have not been established for either immunocompromised, immunosuppressed patients or on cord blood, neonatal sepecimens, infants, or children less than 12 years age.
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