HCV Antibody Test in Pune
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.
You can be infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and have no symptoms. Your doctor could find it when they check your blood and see that your level of certain liver enzymes is high. If that happens, they’ll follow up with other tests to confirm you have the disease.
Who Should Get Tested for Hepatitis C?
The CDC recommends that you get tested at least once no matter what. Definitely get screened if any of these things apply to you:
- You were born between 1945 and 1965.
- You use or inject drugs.
- You have ever injected drugs — even if it was just once or a long time ago.
- You have HIV.
- You’re on kidney dialysis.
- You have abnormal alanine aminotransferase levels (ALT).
- You had a blood transfusion, blood components, or an organ transplant before July 1992.
- You’ve ever gotten clotting factor concentrates made before 1987.
- You received blood from a donor who later tested positive for hepatitis C virus.
- You’re a health care worker, first responder, or have another job that exposes you to HCV-infected needles.
- You were born to a mother with HCV.
Why Should You Get Tested?
You can have hep C with no symptoms.
The test is quick and easy.
You’ll protect family and friends.
Treatment can suppress the virus and maybe even cure you.
Early treatment prevents cirrhosis and liver failure.
Hepatitis C Testing and Diagnosis
Doctors will start by checking your blood for:
Anti-HCV antibodies: This blood test is the first — and sometimes only — one you may get. Also called the ELISA screen, it checks for antibodies that your body releases to fight the virus. These are proteins your body makes when it finds the hep C virus in your blood. They usually show up about 12 weeks after infection. Your test will be either negative or positive for antibodies. It usually takes a few days to a week to get results, though a rapid test is available in some places.
What the results mean?
Negative (non reactive). This is when your blood shows no signs of HCV antibodies. Most of the time, that’s because you never came in contact with the virus and you do not have hep C.
Sometimes, your negative result can be false, meaning you have HCV. That may happen if you:
Took the test too soon after your exposure. This test checks for only HCV antibodies, which can take several months to appear.
Have HIV, a donated organ, or other conditions that weaken your immune system, which can suppress your antibodies
Get haemodialysis for kidney problems
If you’ve been exposed in the last 6 months, you’ll need to be retested.
Positive (reactive). This means you’ve been infected with HCV. But false positives are surprisingly common. More than 1 in 5 people who test positive don’t actually have hepatitis C. Possible reasons include:
In as many as 1 in 4 people, the HCV goes away without treatment. But even after this “natural clearance,” the HCV antibodies will always be in your blood.
The test may mistake HCV antibodies for those for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions.
Babies born to mothers with hep C probably have HCV antibodies. But most new-borns aren’t actually infected.
No test is fool proof. False positive errors happen more often in groups of people — like medical workers stuck with tainted needles — who have low odds of having HCV.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How is this test done?
The test is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand.
Q. What might affect my test results?
Hepatitis C antibody is just one of many tests that healthcare professionals use to diagnose a HCV infection. It simply notes that you have been exposed to the virus. It can’t tell a current infection from a past infection. A weak positive test result could be a false-positive.
Q. Are there any risks to the test?
Having a blood test with a needle carries some risks. These include bleeding, infection, bruising, and feeling lightheaded. When the needle pricks your arm or hand, you may feel a slight sting or pain. Afterward, the site may be sore.