What Is Hcv Ab
Hepatitis C virus total antibody test is performed to detect and diagnose hepatitis C virus infection. It is also used to monitor the progress of treatment suggested for HCV. HCV causes an infection of the liver that is characterized by liver inflammation and damage. The most common test for HCV detects antibodies in the blood that are produced to counter an HCV infection. However, other tests detect the presence of viral RNA, the amount of viral RNA present, or determine the specific subtype of the virus.
Who Should Get Tested For Hepatitis C
The CDC recommends that you get tested at least once no matter what. Definitely get screened if any of these things apply to you:
- You were born between 1945 and 1965.
- You use or inject drugs.
- You have ever injected drugs — even if it was just once or a long time ago.
- Youâre on kidney dialysis.
- You have abnormal alanine aminotransferase levels .
- You had a blood transfusion, blood components, or an organ transplant before July 1992.
- Youâve ever gotten clotting factor concentrates made before 1987.
- You received blood from a donor who later tested positive for hepatitis C virus.
- Youâre a health care worker, first responder, or have another job that exposes you to HCV-infected needles.
- You were born to a mother with HCV.
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.
Don’t Miss: How Did You Get 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.
The following groups of people are at an increased risk of hepatitis C:
- ex-drug users and current drug users, particularly users of injected drugs
- people in the UK who received blood transfusions before September 1991
- 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 north Africa, the Middle East and central and east 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 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.
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.
Don’t Miss: How Is Hepatitis B Transmitted
What Is Hepatitis C Test
Hepatitis C Test is a blood test that is used for the detection of the Hepatitis C virus. There are several types of Hepatitis C test that is used by doctors for the diagnosis of Hepatitis C. The varied Hepatitis C tests are
Hepatitis C Antibody Test : Hepatitis C antibody test is used by doctors to ascertain whether or not a person has been affected by the HCV at any point of his/her life by detecting Hepatitis C antibodies in the blood.
Hepatitis C RNA Qualitative Test : Also referred to as PCR test, this test screens for current infection of the virus.
Hepatitis C RNA Quantitative Test: As the name suggests it is a quantitative test and measures the amount of Hepatitis C virus in the body. The Hepatitis C RNA Quantitative Test is also referred to as viral load test.
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
Also Check: Can You Die With Hepatitis C
Testing Procedures And Costs
The test for HCV antibodies, as well as follow-up blood tests, can be done in most labs that perform routine blood work.
A regular blood sample will be taken and analyzed. No special steps, such as fasting, are needed on your part.
Many insurance companies cover hepatitis C testing, but check with your insurer first to be sure.
Many communities offer free or low-cost testing, too. Check with your doctors office or local hospital to find out whats available near you.
Testing for hepatitis C is simple and no more painful than any other blood test.
But if youre at risk for the disease or think you may have been exposed to the virus, getting tested and starting treatment if necessary can help prevent serious health problems for years to come.
CDC recommends that all adults ages 18 years and older should be screened for hepatitis C except in settings where the prevalence of HCV infection is less than 0.1%.
Also, all pregnant women should be screened during each pregnancy, except in setting where the prevalence of HCV infection is less than 0.1%.
Hepatitis C is often associated with sharing needles . But there are other methods of transmission.
For example, healthcare workers who are regularly exposed to other peoples blood are at higher risk for contracting the virus.
Getting a tattoo from an unlicensed tattoo artist or facility where needles may not be properly sterilized also increases the risk of transmission.
Taking A Hepatitis C Test
Hepatitis C testing is conducted on a sample of blood. Blood samples can be collected by a doctor, nurse, technician, or other health care provider from an adult patients vein using a small needle or a skin prick on a childs heel.
For an at-home hepatitis C test, patients collect a blood sample according to the manufacturers directions. Instructions provided in the test kit detail the steps to obtain a small sample of blood and mail it for testing.
Don’t Miss: Can Drinking Cause Hepatitis C
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.
What Does Hcv Ab Measure
Hepatitis C is one of the five hepatitis viruses identified so far, including A, B, D, and E, that are known to cause the disease. HCV causes liver inflammation and damage. It is spread by exposure to contaminated blood, sharing of needles by intravenous drug users, sharing personal items contaminated by blood such as razors, through sex with an infected person, via healthcare occupational exposure, and, less commonly, from mother to baby during childbirth.
It has been observed that most infected people do not see any symptoms which makes them unaware of the condition. The acute HCV infection may cause few to mild nonspecific symptoms. This chronic infection may not show any symptoms for a decade or two before causing sufficient liver damage to affect liver function.
Hepatitis C antibody tests are used to screen individuals with risk factors, people who have symptoms associated with hepatitis or liver disease, or those who have been exposed to the virus.
It is possible that the antibody test remains positive even after clearing the infection. So to further diagnose, the test is followed by a hepatitis C RNA test. This test detects the genetic material of the virus. A positive result on the RNA test may indicate the virus is present, the infection has not resolved, and the requirement of treatment.
Many times, a liver panel test is also prescribed by the physician which will include a hepatitis C test to help assess the health of the liver.
You May Like: What Does Hepatitis B Come From
Articles On Reasons For Hep C Tests
As far as viruses go, hepatitis C is among the sneakiest. Once it’s in your blood, it travels to your liver, where it may settle in for a silent, long-term stay. This can lead to cancer or cause the organ to fail if you don’t treat it. In fact, hepatitis C is the top reason for liver transplants in the U.S.
If you think youâve been exposed, here are five reasons to get tested right away:
When Should I Test For Hep C
Many people dont feel sick when they first get hep C. If you are exposed to hep C, your body will try and fight the virus for 6 months. 1 in 4 people will clear hep C in those first 6 months.
People who dont clear their hep C will have whats called chronic hep C. You can get tested for hep C straight after you think you have been exposed, but you will need to go back for another test after 12 weeks and possibly again at 6 months.
You might be able to access testing and healthcare via your computer or phone.
You May Like: How To Contract Hepatitis B And C
Screening For Hcv Infection
HCV screening has several potential benefits. By detecting HCV infection early, antiviral treatment can be offered earlier in the course of the disease which is more effective than starting at a later stage. Further, early detection together with counseling and lifestyle modifications may reduce the risk of transmission of HCV infection to other people. The optimal approach to screen for HCV is to test the individuals having risk factors for exposure to the virus. The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases recommends screening for HCV for the following individuals:
Recipient of blood or blood components .
Recipient of blood from a HCV-positive donor.
Injection drug user .
Persons with following associated conditions
persons with HIV infection,
persons who have ever been on hemodialysis, and
persons with unexplained abnormal aminotransferase levels.
Children born to HCV-infected mothers.
Healthcare workers after a needle stick injury or mucosal exposure to HCV-positive blood.
Current sexual partners of HCV-infected persons.
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?
Recommended Reading: How Dangerous Is Hepatitis C
Treatments Can Suppress Or Even Wipe Out The Virus
Hepatitis C is treated with a combination of medications called antivirals. For many people, they get rid of the virus completely. They do have serious side effects and they donât work for everyone. New drugs recently approved by the FDA are more effective and have fewer side effects. But some are expensive.
What This Means For People With Hepatitis C
Access to a point-of-care hepatitis C test would enable people to learn quickly whether they have this liver disease, which also means earlier treatment. It also improves testing accessibility to individuals who lack health insurance that covers this cost, removing this barrier to early diagnosis.Since it detects the presence of hepatitis C at lower rates, testing options such as this can help catch this disease before it can do major liver damage. This helps improve treatment outcomes, providing the best possible results for individuals infected with the hepatitis C virus.
Also Check: How Easy Is It To Get Hepatitis C
Are Test Results Accurate
Although no test is perfect, hepatitis C testing is an important and accepted method of testing for HCV. In order to reduce the risk of inaccurate results, doctors take steps to verify a patients diagnosis. For example, a positive test result for hepatitis C antibody requires confirmation with HCV RNA testing.
Should Every Patient Of Hepatitis Be Screened For All Types Of Hepatitis As Included In The Panel Tests
It is not necessary to conduct a hepatitis panel test on all patients. If the specific hepatitis virus that has caused the infection is known, then the specific hepatitis test may only be conducted. In some cases, doctors may want to know how the treatment is going on or to evaluate the progression of a disease. In such cases, only specific hepatitis tests are conducted.
Don’t Miss: How Hepatitis C Is Transmitted Sexually
How Much Does The Test Cost
The cost of hepatitis C testing depends on the tests that are performed, where the test is conducted, and a patients health insurance coverage. When testing is ordered by a doctor, patients with health insurance may find it helpful to discuss the cost of hepatitis C testing with their insurance company. In addition to the cost of testing, there may be other out-of-pocket costs such as copays and deductibles.
For patients without health insurance, or for whom insurance doesnt cover the cost of testing, it may be helpful to discuss the cost of hepatitis C testing with a doctor or hospital administrator.
At-home hepatitis C testing starts around $49. Some at-home kits test for multiple types of viral hepatitis at once, with the cost of these panels starting around $80.
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.
Read Also: What Does Hepatitis B Do
What Are Antibodies
Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins made by a persons immune system. They are part of the immune systems response to viruses, bacteria, and other harmful substances .
Antibodies attach themselves to antigens or infected cells and tag them so that other immune cells can find and disable them. Antibodies stay in a persons body long after the antigen that triggered them disappears . If the same antigen enters a persons body again, even years later, the immune system will remember itand send antibodies to destroy it.
When HCV enters a persons bloodstream, it triggers an immune response. The immune system makes HCV-fighting antibodies. Sometimes, the immune system gets rid of hepatitis C virus by itself . About a quarter of people with hepatitis C will spontaneously clear the virus. This is more likely in young people , people who do not have HIV, and people with the IL28B CC genotype .
Even when a person has cleared HCV or been cured by treatment, HCV antibodies remain in a persons blood for years.
How Can We Help
Hepatitis C test only require basic blood sample, which can also be collected from help to get the test done and to help you do so is our highly reliable and well established at home healthcare services, wherein you can not only get Hepatitis C home test but, can also get doctors consultation at home. So, you neednt have to worry of getting tested, collecting the hepatitis test reports and then running to a doctors. As we have designed our at home healthcare services keeping the comfort of patients at mind. So, if you need Hepatitis C home test done or hepatitis C treatment at home or any other healthcare services at home just give us a call and we will be there at your service.
Read Also: Doctors And Medical Specialists For Hepatitis B
Specific Hcv Rna Assays And Range Of Detectable Virus
HCV RNA tests use target amplification techniques. Several assays exist for HCV RNA testing. Methods include polymerase chain reaction , transcription mediated amplification , and branched chain DNA tests. Results are expressed as international units/mL . The different methods and different commercial assays each have a lower limit of quantification and lower limit of detection , therefore a patient’s results could be reported differently depending on the assay used. HCV RNA tests must have an LLOQ of 25 IU/mL or lower when used to assess treatment response with DAAs.
LLOQ = the lowest HCV RNA level that is within the linear and analytically acceptable range of the assay.
LLOD = the lowest level of HCV RNA that is detected 95% of the time.