Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Why Test For Hepatitis C

Besides Hcv Testing What Other Tests Might Be Done

Scientists divided on hepatitis C testing

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.

Over 250000 Canadians Believed To Be Infected But Many Unaware They Have Blood

Canadians born between 1945 and 1975 should be tested for the potentially liver-destroying virus hepatitis C, a new set of guidelines recommends.

More than 250,000 Canadians are believed to be infected with hepatitis C, but an estimated 40 to 70 per cent are unaware they harbour the blood-borne virus because it can take decades before symptoms become evident. Chronic infection can lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer.

The Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver, a national group of health-care providers and researchers, published its guidelines on testing and treating hepatitis C in Mondays edition of the CMAJ.

A key recommendation is that people be tested based on their age not only possible risk factors, said Dr. Jordan Feld, a liver specialist at Torontos University Health Network and a co-author of the guidelines.

And the reason weve done this is it just happens that somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of people with hepatitis C were born between 1945 and 1975 in Canada, he said.

So just the way someone gets a blood pressure check or a cholesterol check or a colonoscopy based on their age, we would recommend that they get a hepatitis C test if theyre born between those years.

And if we do that, we hopefully diagnose the vast majority of people living with hepatitis C.

Read Also: Rx Hepato Support For Dogs

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.

Dont Miss: Can Hepatitis B Be Cured With Antibiotics

Recommended Reading: Itchy Back And Hepatitis C

Screening For Hepatitis C

Although most clinicians have extensive experience with the diagnosis and treatment of disease, they have limited experience with screening for disease. Screening is characterized by interventions in a group of individuals with no signs or symptoms of disease to identify unrecognized disease. The hope is that by identifying the disease before the onset of signs or symptoms, morbidity and possibly mortality can be reduced. Screening is not intended to be diagnostic its main purpose is to detect the possibility of disease. The fact that screening is typically performed on healthy individuals can account for some of the limited experience on the part of clinicians.

The 2 most common types of screening are universal screening and selective screening. Universal screening involves screening all individuals in a certain category, such as all individuals above a certain age. Selective screening involves screening individuals who have a high risk for the disease, such as having family members with a known hereditary disease.

The World Health Organization has issued the following guidelines for screening:14

Currently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 17 and the US Preventive Services Task Force18 recommend screening for hepatitis C for 2 groups of individuals:

How Does The Test Kit Work

Hep C

Its quite simple to test yourself at home. All you have to do is buy the iDNA kit, after which it will be mailed to your door in a small, discreet, unmarked package. Follow the directions to collect the sample, mail it off to the cutting-edge and certified lab, then register and wait for your results. We work 7 days a week to test samples and deliver results as quickly as possible.

The best part is, as soon as youre registered, you can use iDNA test kits regularly without extra work. All you have to do is order your kit once a year , supply a sample and wait for results. If you get a positive, only then do you make an appointment with a doctor for next steps.

Along the way, were happy to answer any questions you may have with a knowledgeable in-house customer service team.

You May Like: What Does Hepatitis C Antibody Positive Mean

How Is The Test Used

The various hepatitis C tests have different uses:

  • An HCV antibody test is used to screen for past exposure and current infection. It detects the presence of antibodies to the virus in your blood that are produced by the immune system in response to infection. This test cannot distinguish whether you have an active or a previous HCV infection. There is some evidence that if your test is âweakly positive,â it may be a false positive. The CDC recommends that all positive antibody tests be followed by an HCV RNA test to determine whether or not you have an active infection.

    The HCV antibody test may be performed as part of an acute viral hepatitis panelto determine which of the most common hepatitis viruses is causing your symptoms.

  • HCV RNA test, Quantitative detects and measures the amount of viral RNA in your blood. This test may be used:
  • In follow up to a positive HCV antibody test to confirm the presence of the virus and diagnose an active infection
  • As an initial test for early, acute HCV infection or as follow-up to a negative antibody test if recent exposure is strongly suspected this is because HCV antibodies may not develop for two months after exposure.
  • To help determine your response to therapy by comparing the amount of virus before, during, and after treatment
  • What Is Hepatitis C And How Common Is It In The United States

    Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver. There are a handful of viral hepatitis types , but hepatitis C is the cause of the majority of serious liver disease in the United States. The hepatitis C virus is spread when blood from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone whos not infected. There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, which makes early detection so important.

    In the United States, its estimated that between 3 and 5 million people have chronic hepatitis C, and most of those people dont know theyre infected. The majority of people with chronic hepatitis C are from the baby boom generation.

    Read Also: Causes Of Hepatitis C Transmission

    Can Hepatitis C Be Prevented

    There is no vaccine against hepatitis C. The only way to prevent infection is to avoid contact with infected blood.

    Hepatitis C cannot be spread by coughing, sneezing or sharing eating utensils. People should not be kept away from school, work, or other social settings because they have hepatitis C.

    Here are some precautions that may prevent the spread of hepatitis C:

    • Do not share personal care items, such as toothbrushes or razors, with others.
    • Practice safe sex by using condoms.
    • Dont share needles or syringes.
    • Wear gloves when handling another persons blood.
    • Use sterile equipment for body piercings or tattoos.
    • If you are a healthcare worker, follow recommended safety measures.

    People who are at greater risk for contracting hepatitis C should have their blood tested. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that Americans born between 1945 and 1965 be screened at least once for the disease.

    What Tests Do I Need

    Why is the CDC recommending that all baby boomers be tested for hepatitis C?

    Hepatitis C testing involves a single blood test that looks for the hepatitis C antibody. If this test is positive, the sample is tested to see if there is any live virus. If there is live virus, then hepatitis C infection is confirmed.

    If this test is positive, you have chronic hepatitis C and should talk to your provider about treatment. Treatments for hepatitis C can cure most people in 8 weeks.

    If you test negative, you are at risk of contracting hepatitis C. Protect yourself by reducing your risks of getting hepatitis C:

    • Don’t inject or snort illicit drugs. If you do, talk with your provider about trying to stop. If you can’t stop, never share your syringes, needles or drug paraphernalia with anyone else. Find resources for clean equipment.
    • Always practice safer sex. Use a latex barrier, such as a condom every time you have sex. Using condoms also reduces your chances of getting sexually transmitted diseases.
    • Do not use anyone else’s razor, toothbrush, or other personal care items.

    Don’t Miss: Can You Get Hepatitis From Donating Plasma

    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 exposure to 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.

    Hepatitis C Screening: Questions For The Doctor

    Everyone ages 18 to 79 needs to get tested for hepatitis C at least once. Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus . The most common way to get hepatitis C is by coming into contact with the blood of someone who has it. In the United States, people usually get hepatitis C by sharing needles.

    Many people who have hepatitis C live for years without feeling sick. But the virus can still damage your liver even when its not causing any symptoms. You could also spread the virus to others without knowing it.

    The only way to know for sure if you have hepatitis C is to get a blood test. Medicine can cure most cases of hepatitis C.

    Also Check: Can Hepatitis C Be Transmitted Sexually

    Aasld/idsa Hcv Testing Guidance

    The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and Infectious Diseases Society of America guidance for hepatitis C addresses HCV testing in the section HCV Testing and Linkage to Care. The AASLD/IDSA recommends one-time, routine, opt out HCV testing for all individuals aged 18 years and older, one-time testing for persons younger than age 18 who have increased risk for acquiring HCV, periodic testing for persons who have risk activity for acquiring HCV, and annual testing for men with HIV who have condomless sex with men men who have sex with men and are on HIV preexposure prophylaxis and people who inject drugs . The AASLD/IDSA recommendations for testing incorporate birth-cohort screening as well as testing based on risk behaviors, risk exposures, and medical conditions associated with acquisition of HCV.

    Appropriate Uses Of The Hcv Rna Test

    Hepatitis C Test: Why Hepatitis C Testing is Important

    There are 4 major reasons that HCV RNA tests are used:

  • To confirm a positive HCV Ab result and make the diagnosis of current HCV infection
  • To measure a patient’s baseline viral load prior to starting HCV therapy
  • To monitor a patient’s response to therapy
  • To determine whether a patient has achieved a sustained virologic response
  • More rarely, HCV RNA is used when either very acute HCV infection is suspected or a false HCV Ab is suspected.

    It would not be appropriate to repeatedly order HCV RNA viral load screening for a patient who is not on or was recently on HCV treatment, or to use the HCV viral load to determine the severity of the patient’s infection or the patient’s risk of developing significant liver disease.

    You May Like: How Do They Test For Hepatitis C

    Benefits Of Screening For Hepatitis C

    If individuals with chronic hepatitis C are identified before they develop advanced fibrosis, cirrhosis, or hepatocellular carcinoma, 90%-100% can now be expected to respond to treatment, whereas previously only 66%-75% of individuals responded to treatment.813,2427 Thus, detecting individuals with hepatitis C before they develop signs or symptoms of the disease can have an important impact on their subsequent clinical course. Sustained virologic clearance for more than 6 months after treatment of hepatitis C is also associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality.28

    Why Test All Your Adult Patients

    • New cases of hepatitis C are on the rise, particularly among reproductive age adults. Rates of new HCV infections increased by more than 60% from 2015 to 2019. And in 2019, more than 63% of HCV infections occurred among adults 20-39 years of age.
    • Your patients arent aware of their risk. Almost half of people with hepatitis C are unaware of their infection. Testing is the first step to accessing curative treatment. Without treatment, approximately 15-20% of adults with chronic HCV infection will develop progressive liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.
    • Hepatitis C can be cured. Over 90 percent of people infected with HCV can be cured with 8-12 weeks of oral therapy. Treatment of hepatitis C is associated with reductions in mortality among persons with chronic hepatitis C.

    Don’t Miss: How Do You Get Hepatitis A Virus

    Interpreting Hcv Rna Test Results

    It is essential that the provider understands how to interpret HCV RNA test results, especially during the course of HCV treatment.

    Result of HCV RNA Test Interpretation
    A quantified viral load — any exact number Ongoing HCV infection
    “Detected” The HCV RNA is detectable but the number of international units is so low that it cannot be quantified accurately. This indicates extremely low level of virus is present.
    “< 12 IU/mL” or “< 15 IU/mL” or “< 25 IU/mL” All of these are “less than the LLOQ” HCV RNA is undetectable. No virus is detected at all in the patient’s serum specimen.

    Testing For Hepatitis C

    Get Tested 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.

    Antibody 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.

    PCR test

    Read Also: How Many Hepatitis B Shots Are Required

    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.

    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.

    Dont Miss: Can Hepatitis C Turn Into Hiv

    You May Like: What Does Hepatitis B Do To You

    Popular Articles
    Related news