Hepatitis C Virus HCV Antibody
The Hepatitis C antibody test is used to screen for hepatitis C infection. Hepatitis C is a virus that is highly contagious, spreading through contact with blood and other bodily fluids of an infected person. Hepatitis C causes the highest rate of deaths than any other infectious disease.
Test results may take 1-2 business days.
What is the Hepatitis C virus?
Hepatitis C is a viral infection causing the inflammation of the liver; and, sometimes leading to serious liver damages. When a person becomes infected, he or she becomes at high risk of numerous complications such as needing a liver transplant and even death. Hepatitis C is highly contagious and can spread when in contact with an infected personï¿½s blood or bodily fluids. Since there are no vaccines to protect us from hepatitis C, taking precautions is necessary to be on the safe side. These include stop using illicit drugs, watching out when going for a body piercing or tattoo, and always engaging in protected sex keeping in mind that a monogamist relationship has very low risks.
Symptoms of hepatitis C include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, fatigue, abdominal pain and joint pain. These symptoms do not normally appear immediately. They could appear fourteen days after exposure, or may take as long as six months. When hepatitis C turns into a chronic infection, its symptoms normally start surfacing when the liver is already damaged and starting to fail. The result will be weakness, weight loss and blood clotting issues. Jaundice may follow. Also, other symptoms include bleeding and bruising easily, having an itchy skin, having spider like blood vessels on the skin, and ending up with fluid buildup in the abdomen, and swelling of the legs.
Hepatitis C can be acute or chronic. Acute hepatitis is a short-term infection that would be resolved within the first six months, after being exposed to the virus. In most cases, signs and symptoms barely show. The acute form of this illness usually gets resolved without treatment; but, in 75 to 85% of the times, it develops into a chronic infection. Also, 5-20% of hepatitis C infected individuals develop liver cirrhosis over a period of 20 years.
Acute hepatitis C does not have a specific treatment plan. This infection is normally monitored to make sure it is not progressing into a chronic one. Infected individuals may be asked to have proper best rest, drink a lot of fluids and have a well-balanced diet. Studies show that one on 4 infected people get cured without any treatment. Chronic hepatitis C is treated with highly active antiviral medicines. These will stop the infection from spreading and lowers the viral load. A study published by the Nebraska Medical Center explains that 45% of individuals who undergo liver transplants, in the United States, have chronic hepatitis C. Even after the transplant, the infection, if active, will remain in the system and needs to be addressed.
The hepatitis C test looks for antibodies in the blood, that are released as a result of being exposed to the hepatitis C virus. A properly functioning immune system produces specific kinds of proteins aiming at getting the body rid of harmful invaders such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. The role of these antibodies is to neutralize and destroy anything that would cause harm to the body. In the body who gets exposed to the hepatitis C virus, hepatitis C antibodies develop and bind to the virus making it ready to be attacked by other parts of the immune system.
Why take the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection test?
The hepatitis C test is an essential tool for screening and diagnosing a hepatitis C infection. It can also help assess and monitor the treatment. The only way to detect if a person has a chronic hepatitis C infection is though a blood test: the HCV antibody test. This test can expose a past exposure and an active one but it cannot pinpoint whether the infection is current or past.
People who are at high risk of being infected with hepatitis C need to be tested for the hepatitis c antibodies. These include people who inject illegal drugs, those who have been on long term dialysis, kids who are born to HCV positive women, anyone who has been exposed to the blood of somebody who is infected with hepatitis C, anyone who has chronic liver disease, people who are HIV-positive, and health care workers who come in close contact with hepatitis C positive blood. This test is also recommended for anyone who has abnormal results on a liver panel.
What can cause the levels to rise?
There is no evidence that medications, vitamins, and supplements can have any effect on the test results of the hepatitis C antibody test. Some tests may indicate a false positive. This means that your test shows that you are infected; but you are not. People who recovered from a past infection make sure positive results. In that case, a follow up viral load test is recommended. A false positive result affects only three percent of all tested people. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 35% of low risk individuals can get false positive results when it comes to hepatitis C.
What your Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection test results mean?
The results of this test are normally either positive or negative. A positive test indicates that the person is either infected now or have been infected with the hepatitis C virus. If the test gives a negative result; then, there is no infection detected: the person is not and was never infected with the virus. Keep in mind that hepatitis C, unlike any other hepatitis, does not have the vaccine. So, our immune system cannot build an effective immune response to the virus itself. As a result, if someone was infected with hepatitis C, he can be re-infected again upon exposure. Those who are infected with this virus can potentially spread it to others.
Where can I get a Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection test near me?
Please use our Lab Locator to find find a convenient testing location.
Choose the test you want (be sure to pick the laboratory you want to use).
Pay by credit card or PayPal®.
You pay directly and we do not bill your insurance.
(Note: to preserve lowest possible per test pricing, a single $10.00 lab fee is applied to one or more blood tests. You will not incur any additional charges at the lab.)
After purchasing your testing you will receive an email with your lab requisition. Bring this form to the laboratory.
NOTE: Be sure to visit the appropriate laboratory!
If you choose LabCorp only visit a
If you choose Quest Diagnostics only visit a Quest location!
No appointment is needed, but making one can minimize your wait time.
Click here for HOURS & APPOINTMENTS
If you have selected the option to have an At Home Test Kit delivered to you, you will receive your test kit in the mail within 5 to 7 business days. (Not all tests are available as At Home Test Kits.)
We’ll email you when your results are ready. Sign into your account to view and download your result reports.
Certain result values may prompt a phone call from our ordering provider to ensure the patient is aware of their result.
Prepare For Your Test
Also Known As