Hepatitis C Testing
With Rise MyCare, Our online visits help you get access to Board Certified Providers that can help with hep C. We have a network of providers at our finger tips so once we have your results, we can refer you to the right Doctors.
We’ll evaluate your symptoms and if appropriate order testing to determine if you have hepatitis C and reduce any potential risks like liver cancer.
Hepatitis C is usually a “silent” infection and the virus damages the liver. These signs and symptoms are markers for liver disease. A comprehensive panel can tell our providers more and help determine the right course of action to pass along to our referral physician.
A Hepatitis C test is useful in detecting, diagnosing, and monitoring the treatment of a hepatitis C viral infection.
The test looks for antibodies in the blood as a response to the HCV infection.
- Hepatitis C kills more Americans than any other infectious disease.
- Baby boomers are six times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than those in other age groups and are at much greater risk for death from the virus.
- New hepatitis C infections increased nearly 300 percent from 2010 and 2015.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C or HCV is a virus that causes a liver infection that causes liver inflammation and damage.
The liver infection that can lead to serious damage if it’s not caught early. There are two phases of HCV, both have no symptoms. Early phase (acute) develops shortly after infection and almost 85% of those infected develop a chronic infection. In the chronic stage, there are generally no symptoms for years or even decades. If left untreated, most people with chronic hepatitis C may develop liver disease.
About 3.9 million people in the U.S. have the disease. But it causes few symptoms, so most of them don’t know. The virus spreads through an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
Why is the prevalence of HCV so high among baby boomers?
Medical researchers believe baby boomers and those that were young adults in the 1970s and 1980s were more likely to engage in occasional or ongoing injection drug use without knowledge of the health risks.
How is hepatitis C spread?
Hepatitis C is typically transmitted when blood from a person with the hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected.
- Most people today become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to prepare or inject drugs.
- In the early 90s, hepatitis C was commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants, but that has since been eliminated after a thorough investigation of the blood supply.
- Today people receive the infection from sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to prepare or inject drugs, accidently needlestick injuries in health care settings, or they are born to a mother who has hepatitis C.
- Roughly 6 in 100 infants born to mothers with hepatitis C become infected with the hepatitis C and the risks increases if the mother is has an STD or HIV.
- Mosquitoes or other insects cannot transmit the hepatitis C virus.
- It’s uncommon to receive the virus if you use someone else’s blood or use their toothbrushes. While the risk of transmission during sexual intercourse is low, the risk increases greatly for people who have many sex partners, have an STD or HIV or have rough sex.
- Many studies confirm that hepatitis C is not spread through licensed, commercial tattooing facilities but the spread is possible when tattooing is performed in unregulated or non-traditional facilities like in prisons, from a friend, or in Thailand from a monk that use non-sterile equipment.
You can be re-infected with the hepatitis C virus if you’ve already been treated, cleared or cured.
What are the signs and symptoms of acute and chronic stage hepatitis C?
Hepitius C is primarily spread by exposure to contaminated blood, mainly through sharing needles by drug users, but in some rare cases, sharing contaminated grooming razors, sex with an infected person, healthcare worker exposure, and children born with the virus passed on by the mother.
It’s estimated that two-thirds of people with the infection have no symptoms.
If people do develop symptoms they may last for 2 to 24 weeks. Common signs and symptoms of HCV virus are:
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes, known as jaundice
- Pain in your Upper right abdominal area
- Dark urine color and light poop color
- Severe fatigue
- Mild fever and chills
- Mood swings
- Joint pains
- Loss of appetite
- Itchy skin
In the chronic stage, patients typically go years with no symptoms. The chronic stage is also called “latent” or “dormant” hepatitis C.
After years of dormancy, the virus becomes active causing liver inflammation and scarring. Left untreated, this can progress to cirrhosis, liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma), liver failure. and death – Between 5 and 20 of them will develop cirrhosis
The signs of chronic hepatitis C are similar to the more common, earlier developing acute with more aggressive symptoms caused by a failing liver.
- Swelling and fluid accumulation of the abdomen and legs
- Vomiting blood
- Mental fogginess and Confusion
- Easy bruising and bleeding
Hepatitis is contagious, meaning it is passed from person to person. In order to contract hepatitis C, you must come into contact with blood or other body fluids that could contain the blood of an infected person.
How to get hepatitis C testing online?
Our provider will order a “HCV antibody” test is used to screen for past exposure and current infection.
The test detects if any antibodies to the virus are infecting the body, which indicates exposure to HCV. This test doesn’t diagnosis HCV – if there are positive results, a provider will order the HCV RNA test that detects the virus in the blood to determine whether or not there is an active infection.
HCV RNA test, Quantitative detects and measures the number of viral RNA particles in the blood. RNA or ribonucleic acid is a biological molecule like DNA.
Viral genotyping is used to determine the kind of the HCV present to help guide treatment. According LabCorp and the CDC, “There are 5 major types of HCV and more than 50 subtypes identified; the most common, genotype 1, accounts for about 75% of cases in the U.S. The drugs selected for treatment depend in part on the genotype of HCV infecting a person.”
The CDC has published a clear summary for those who need testing if you:
- Have ever injected illegal drugs
- Received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992. The US blood supply is actively monitored and positive HCV tests are removed. The current risk of HCV infection from transfused blood is about one case per two million transfused units.
- Have received clotting factor concentrates produced before 1987
- Were ever on long-term dialysis
- Are a child born to HCV-positive woman
- Have been exposed to the blood of someone with hepatitis C
- Are healthcare, emergency medicine, or public safety workers who had needlesticks, sharps, or mucosal exposure to HCV-positive blood
- Have evidence of chronic liver disease
- Have HIV
- Were born between 1945 and 1965, regardless of other risk factors for HCV