Hepatitis C Testing
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What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C (hep C) is an infection that causes severe inflammation of the liver. If left untreated, hep C can lead to cancer or cirrhosis of the liver. Some people with hepatitis C experience minimal symptoms and a short infectious period, whereas most people become very sick.
Hep C is transmitted through the blood, during sex, childbirth or the use of unsterilized needles and contaminated blood during transfusions.
Testing for hep C
There is only one way to test for hepatitis C, which is a blood test that detects the presence of antibodies in the blood. If your blood contains hepatitis C antibodies, it means that you have been infected with the virus at some point in the past. Because there is no vaccination for hep C, immunity is only achieved by successful recovery.
A positive antibody test will usually lead to an additional test, to determine whether you are still infected or not. The additional test is a nucleic acid test (NAC) and can
A blood sample can be collected the traditional way (by a nurse using a needle and syringe) or using the finger prick method. An at home hepatitis C test uses the latter method and can be done yourself in privacy.
How do you read hepatitis C test results?
How to read blood test results for hepatitis c depends on the test you have done. A positive test result for a hep C test means you have or have had the virus. A negative result means you do not have the virus. For viral load tests, any quantity above 0 indicates some level of hepatitis, but a very low reading will require follow up testing.
What does 0.1 mean on a hep c test?
A reading of 0.1 means that a very low level of hepatitis c has been detected in your blood. A follow-up test will probably be required.
How do you test for hepatitis C?
How to test for hepatitis C can be explained to you by your doctor or nurse. Hepatitis C is tested by taking a sample of the blood. An at home test for Hepatitis C is conducted using the finger-prick technique.
Can you eat before a hepatitis c blood test?
Yes. You do not need to fast for a hep c blood test.
How long does a hepatitis c test take?
The hepatitis C blood test takes just a few seconds, whether conducted at home or by a nurse.
How long must you wait to get tested for hepatitis c?
The incubation period for hep c can be up to 6 months, but the infection can show up in tests from as little as 4 weeks. If you suspect infection, get tested. If your result is negative, it is a good idea to wait a few months and get tested again.
What does reactive mean on a hepatitis C test?
A reactive result means that you have tested positive for hepatitis c and are infected.
What is a hepatitis C viral load test?
A hep C viral load test measures how much hepatitis C is left in your blood. A higher viral load means you have more of the virus and are more likely to be currently infected.
What does a non reactive hepatitis C test mean?
A non reactive hepatitis C test means you have tested negative and are not infected with the virus. If you receive this result within 6 months of potential infection, get tested again once this time has passed.
What does an indeterminate hep c test mean?
An indeterminate hepatitis C test results might mean that you have very low levels of the virus in your blood. This will usually mean you should get another test.
Does hepatitis C show up in blood tests?
Yes. Hepatitis C can only be detected in the blood. This can be done either in a lab or at home using the finger prick method. The results must be analyzed in a lab no matter how the sample is collected.
How do you get tested for hepatitis C?
How to get tested for hepatitis C depends on where you live. You can get tested for hepatitis C at your doctor, a sexual health clinic or at home. Ordering an at home hepatitis C test is easy, discreet and just as accurate as a test conducted at the doctor.
Does hep c show up in routine blood tests?
No. You will usually need to request a hepatitis C blood test.
What blood test checks for hepatitis c?
The blood test for hepatitis C is called an antibody test. A hepatitis C antibody test checks for a current or past infection.
How much does a hepatitis c test cost?
The price of a hepatitis C test depends on where you live, which test you are given and where you decide to get tested. Treatable offer great value at home hepatitis C tests, but your local sexual health clinic may be able to test you for free.
Why are baby boomers being tested for hepatitis c?
Baby boomers are more likely than others to have hepatitis C, due to the lower standards of sterilization and cleanliness for recreational drug use during the years of their youth. Baby boomers should be tested for hepatitis C, because they could have the infection without knowing.