Is Hepatitis C Reflex Testing Available Through Commercial Labs
Yes, reflexing to a hepatitis C diagnostic test following a reactive hepatitis C screening test is recommended and clinicians can now order a hepatitis C reflex test from several commercial laboratories. The laboratory will do the hepatitis C antibody test, and if the result is positive, the laboratory will immediately perform an HCV RNA test on the same specimen. Only one tube of serum is needed. This reflex test provides the information needed to determine hepatitis C infection status in one step, without having the patient return for a second blood draw.
- For Quest, search test #91438X – www.questdiagnostics.com
- For LabCorp, search test #144028 – www.labcorp.com
- For BioReference, search test #B125-6 – www.bioreference.com
Why The Different Recommendations For Baby Boomers
In 20122013, the CDC and the US Preventive Services Task Force established guidelines that recommended all baby boomers be screened for hepatitis C. Boomers were singled out because this population had most of the undiagnosed infections.
Screening for hepatitis C is a big deal, because its a potentially serious and treatable infection affecting an estimated four million persons in the US and 100 million people worldwide. And, while its common to have it without knowing it, liver failure or liver cancer are known complications that could be prevented by screening and treatment.
Studies looking at the effectiveness of screening baby boomers have demonstrated success as well as limitations. In recent years its become clear that the fastest growing group of people newly infected with hepatitis C is young adults ages 20 to 39 who would be missed under previous guidelines.
Where Can I Get Sterile Injecting Equipment While This Is Going On
Many Needle and Syringe Program outlets in NSW are changing the way they work with clients and customers. Some injecting equipment can be sent in the post, you can pick up bulk orders, and some opening times might have changed.
The NSP directory can help you find the nearest place to pick up injecting equipment > > > CLICK HERE.Call to see if anything has changed.
You can also contact NUAA who may be able to help out with any injecting equipment needs you might have. NUAA are currently taking mail orders. Call them on 1800 644 413 or contact via their website.
You May Like: Can I Get Rid Of Hepatitis C
Why Is It Important To Test Persons Born Between 1945 And 1965
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , more than 75% of adults infected with hepatitis C are people born from 1945 through 1965 .
- The reason that baby boomers have high rates of hepatitis C is not completely understood. However, it is believed that most baby boomers became infected in the 1970’s and 1980’s when rates of hepatitis C and drug use were highest. Since people with hepatitis C can live for decades without symptoms, many baby boomers are unknowingly living with an infection they got many years ago that can lead to liver disease, liver failure and cancer.
- Hepatitis C is primarily spread through contact with blood from an infected person. Many baby boomers could have gotten infected from contaminated blood and blood products before widespread screening of the blood supply began in 1992 and universal precautions were adopted. Still, many baby boomers do not know or remember how or when they were infected.
Who Should Be Tested For Hepatitis C
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a national group of doctors, nurses, and others who are experts in prevention reviewed research on testing for hepatitis C and recommend the following:
- Doctors should offer one-time hepatitis C testing to adults born in the years from 1945 through 1965.
- Adults at an increased risk for hepatitis C should be tested.
- Risk factors include having injected drugs , having received a blood transfusion before 1992, and the other factors listed on page 3.
- People who continue to be at risk may need to be tested for hepatitis C more than once.
If you feel you should be tested for hepatitis C, talk with your doctor.
Don’t Miss: Can Hepatitis B Be Cured With Antibiotics
What Is The Difference Between A Hepatitis C Screening Test And A Hepatitis C Diagnostic Test
- The initial hepatitis C screening test is a test that detects the presence of hepatitis C antibodies in the blood. A reactive result on a hepatitis C screening test is interpreted as a presumptive positive for hepatitis C antibodies in the blood. This means a person may have been infected with the hepatitis C virus at some point in time. It does not mean they are currently infected. There are laboratory based and point of care hepatitis C antibody screening tests.
- The hepatitis C diagnostic test is a laboratory test that detects the presence of the hepatitis C virus in the blood. The presence of hepatitis C virus in the blood indicates current hepatitis C infection.
Why Do You Need Hepatitis C Test
Hepatitis C virus primarily attacks the liver, which performs a number of crucial function in the body and the HCV kills of healthy cells in the liver causing damage and destruction of the liver, thereby, hampering many vital functions of the body. As such it is extremely important to get tested for Hepatitis C virus, as the sooner the HCV is detected, the sooner will the treatment start to eliminate and kill the virus.
Also Check: How Does Someone Get Hepatitis
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.
What Will My Doctor Need To Know To Treat Me
If you want to be assessed for treatment, you need to make an appointment with a doctor. They will be mostly interested in the condition of your liver. Your doctor will organise, if possible, for you to have a Fibroscan examination. If Fibroscan is not available, your doctor will probably use an APRI test. This is an online calculator that estimates the health of your liver. It involves a blood test called a liver function test.
Dont forget, its very important to get a PCR test 12 weeks after finishing treatment this will mean the doctor can make sure you are cured.
Recommended Reading: Hepatitis C Genotype 2 Treatment
If Using The General Medical Consent Does The Hepatitis C Screening Test Have To Be Specifically Listed In The Consent Language
No. The hepatitis C screening test does not specifically need to be identified in the consent language. However, we do recommend that the patient receives some type of education on hepatitis C, including the rationale for the screening test. The educational information can be provided in many different formats, including a fact sheet, brochure or a poster.
What The Cdc Recommends
Were you born between 1945 and 1965? If so, then youre a member of the Hepatitis C generation. The CDC recently recommended that all people born between during this time have a 1-time screening test for Hepatitis C. We now have new drugs that can treat and cure Hepatitis C so you should go get tested today.
The life you save may be your own! Please contact your local healthcare provider.
You May Like: How Soon Do Hepatitis C Symptoms Appear
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 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.
Also Check: Hepatitis B Surface Antibody Titer Test
Who Is More Likely To Get Hepatitis C
People more likely to get hepatitis C are those who
- have injected drugs
- had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
- have hemophilia and received clotting factor before 1987
- have been on kidney dialysis
- have been in contact with blood or infected needles at work
- have had tattoos or body piercings
- have worked or lived in a prison
- were born to a mother with hepatitis C
- are infected with HIV
- have had more than one sex partner in the last 6 months or have a history of sexually transmitted disease
- are men who have or had sex with men
In the United States, injecting drugs is the most common way that people get hepatitis C.13
What Is The Treatment For Hcv
There are several drugs that can be used to treat HCV infection. Most commonly, a combination of drugs is used, and new drugs are under development. Before 2000, chronic HCV was curable in only 10% of cases. Now, treatments for HCV can cure over 90% of people with hepatitis C before late complications occur, but even those with advanced liver disease often respond to treatment. This increases the opportunity to intervene early and prevent HCV-associated deaths.
- According to the CDC, recent treatment guidelines recommend monitoring people with acute HCV but only considering treatment if the infection persists longer than 6 months.
- Chronic HCV is usually treated with a combination of drugs.
Don’t Miss: Can Hepatitis C Turn Into Hiv
Under The New Law Do All Patients At
Under the new law, only those patients born between 1945 and 1965 are required to be offered a hepatitis C screening test. Although the new law requires the offer of a test only for those born between 1945 and 1965, CDC recommends hepatitis C testing be offered to all persons at risk for hepatitis C, such as injection drug users, those that received a blood transfusion or organ donation before 1992, persons living with HIV, anyone with abnormal liver tests, health and safety workers who have been exposed to blood on the job and persons on long term dialysis.
How Is Hepatitis C Diagnosed
Symptoms alone generally dont offer enough information for a doctor to diagnose hepatitis C. Whats more, you might not have symptoms or notice any signs of the condition.
Thats why its so important to connect with a doctor or other healthcare professional and ask about getting tested if youve been exposed to the hepatitis C virus.
The also recommend hepatitis C testing for people who have abnormal liver tests, along with those who are:
- on hemodialysis
A healthcare professional can order a few different tests to help diagnose hepatitis C. These include:
- Blood tests. They may order a series of blood tests to check for the virus, starting with a hepatitis C antibody test. A PCR test can tell your healthcare professional whether the virus is currently active, and viral load testing can measure the amount of virus in your blood.
- Genotype test. This test can reveal which hepatitis C genotype you have. This information will help your healthcare professional find an effective treatment approach.
- Liver function test. If blood test results suggest chronic hepatitis C or your healthcare professional believes you could have liver damage, theyll order a liver function test. This test checks your blood for signs of heightened enzymes from your liver.
- Liver biopsy.This procedure can also help check for liver damage. A biopsy involves taking a small piece of tissue from your liver and testing it for cell abnormalities.
Also Check: Is Hiv The Same As Hepatitis
How Likely Am I To Become Infected With Hepatitis C From A Family Member Living In The Same House
Household transmission of hepatitis C is extremely rare. Fewer than 1 in 1,000 family members or close acquaintances becomes infected each year through common, nonsexual contact with hepatitis C-infected persons.
There are many possible ways by which hepatitis C could be passed from one person to another. Because the virus is carried in the blood, it could be transmitted between household members if a mucous membrane were to come in contact with blood or body fluids containing hepatitis C. Family members sometimes share razors, toothbrushes, or toothpicks, perhaps unknowingly. If an item were contaminated with hepatitis C-infected blood from one person, the virus could be passed to a second person if it were to tear the lining of the mouth or break through the skin.
Although these sorts of possibilities are often discussed as potential ways for hepatitis C to infect family members, such events occur very rarely.
If you aren’t sure of your hepatitis C status, get tested. If you test negative and have lived in a household with an infected family member or close acquaintance, you shouldn’t worry that any more contact will put you at risk.
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.
Recommended Reading: Liver Cancer Caused By Hepatitis C
Where Does The Information Come From
Researchers funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality , a Federal Government research agency, reviewed 162 studies on testing for the hepatitis C virus published between January 1947 and May 2012. The report was reviewed by clinicians, researchers, experts, and the public. You can read the report at www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/hepatitis-c-screening.cfm.
Note: People who have had a liver transplant, people with HIV infection, people receiving dialysis for kidney failure, and children were not included in the research for this summary.
Besides Hcv Testing What Other Tests Might Be Done
Healthcare practitioners may also order a liver panel, which is a group of tests that help assess the health of your liver. Liver tests such as ALT and AST may be used to detect ongoing liver injury. You will likely be checked to see if you are immune to hepatitis A and hepatitis B, and if not, you will be offered vaccination, since infection with these other viruses can further damage your liver. Other tests such as albumin, prothrombin time, and bilirubin can also be used. They are typically normal unless you have developed cirrhosis. Sometimes a liver biopsy may be performed to determine the severity of liver damage. If you are going to be treated, you will be checked for exposure or infection with hepatitis B virus, as HCV treatment can cause a flare-up of hepatitis B.
You May Like: How Does One Get Hepatitis B And C
What Health Conditions Make You Most At Risk Of Severe Illness With Covid
Health conditions that might contribute to a higher possible severity include:
- coronary heart disease,
- you have been in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19
- you arrived in Australia after midnight on the 15 March 2020
What Causes Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is more prevalent in young people and the hepatitis C virus usually spreads through blood to blood contact like in the case of intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment, needlestick injuries and transfusions. Hepatitis C can also be passed down from an infected mother to its baby during child birth. Hepatitis C is also spread through sex with an infected person.
You May Like: What Type Of Hepatitis Is Curable