Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) HCV-total antibody (SERUM)
A blood test, called an HCV antibody test, is used to find out if someone has ever been infected with the hepatitis C virus. The HCV antibody test, sometimes called the anti-HCV test, looks for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus in blood. Antibodies are chemicals released into the bloodstream when someone gets infected. Test results can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to come back. Rapid anti-HCV tests are available in some health clinics and the results of these tests are available in 20 to 30 minutes.
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.
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Test results can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to come back. Rapid anti-HCV tests are available in some health clinics and the results of these tests are available in 20 to 30 minutes.
There are two possible outcomes to an HCV antibody testTrusted Source. The blood panel will either show that you have a nonreactive result or a reactive result.
HCV antibody nonreactive result
If no HCV antibodies are found, the test result is considered to be HCV antibody nonreactive. No further testing ? or actions ? are required.
However, if you feel strongly that you might?ve been exposed to HCV, another test may be ordered.
HCV antibody reactive result
If the first test outcome is HCV antibody reactive, a second test is advised. Just because you have HCV antibodies in your bloodstream doesn?t mean you have hepatitis C.
Screening for hepatitis C leads to the appropriate evaluation and treatment of individuals chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus and prevents the progression of liver disease to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and the associated morbidity and mortality. Screening for hepatitis C is also cost effective.
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.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV): the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.
- Hepatitis C is a major cause of liver cancer.
- The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus: the most common modes of infection are through exposure to small quantities of blood. This may happen through injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products, and sexual practices that lead to exposure to blood.
- Globally, an estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
- A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.
- WHO estimated that in 2016, approximately 399 000 people died from hepatitis C, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer).
- Antiviral medicines can cure more than 95% of persons with hepatitis C infection, thereby reducing the risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer, but access to diagnosis and treatment is low.
- There is currently no effective vaccine against hepatitis C; however, research in this area is ongoing.
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