HCV Antibody - Immunochromatography
Understanding HCV Antibody - Immunochromatography
What is HCV Antibody - Immunochromatography?
An HCV Antibody - Immunochromatography test is a diagnostic test used to detect the presence of antibodies that the body makes against the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in a person's blood. This test plays a crucial role in the early diagnosis and screening of HCV infection. HCV commonly infects the liver and may result in liver damage if not recognized or treated timely.
Hepatitis C is a viral infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that affects your liver. The common symptoms of a recent HCV infection include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice (yellowing of skin and the whites of the eyes). This infection spreads when you come into contact with an infected person's blood, open wounds, or body fluids. It can also spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, syringes, or any drug-injection equipment, transfusion of infected blood, or from a mother to the child during birth.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends an HCV Antibody test for people who are at an increased risk of this infection, have come in contact with an already infected person, or show any of the symptoms of an HCV infection. However, about 80% of the infected individuals do not exhibit any symptoms after the initial infection. An HCV Antibody test helps identify people infected with the HCV virus and allows the clinician to start appropriate treatment. Early diagnosis can prevent health problems resulting from the infection and further virus transmission. The test also helps distinguish HCV infection from other forms of hepatitis.
Usually, no special preparation is needed for this test. You may eat and drink as per your daily routine. Talk to your doctor about your specific test results. Narrate your complete medical history to help them correlate your clinical and laboratory findings. The test results will help the doctor determine your medical condition and formulate your treatment plan.
What is HCV Antibody - Immunochromatography used for?
An HCV Antibody - Immunochromatography test is done:
- To screen for hepatitis C infection if you have been exposed to HCV or show symptoms associated with liver disease.
- To screen for hepatitis C infection if you have risk factors for developing an HCV infection.
What does HCV Antibody - Immunochromatography measure?
An HCV Antibody - Immunochromatography test determines if HCV has infected you and helps your doctor guide your treatment. HCV causes liver inflammation and is classified into acute hepatitis infection and chronic hepatitis infection.
Acute hepatitis C: This occurs in the first six months after exposure to the hepatitis C virus. In the early stage of the infection, acute hepatitis C is mild and may cause no symptoms. For this reason, most people do not know they have this infection.
Chronic hepatitis C: If your body cannot fight off the virus, you can develop a chronic hepatitis C infection. Progression from acute to chronic hepatitis C is common, occurring in 75-85% of patients. Detecting chronic hepatitis C early is important to prevent future complications, such as liver failure, and initiate effective treatment.
Interpreting HCV Antibody - Immunochromatography results
HCV antibody test can be reported as "positive" or "negative." If the HCV antibody test is positive, the individual tested is infected or has likely been infected with hepatitis C. If the HCV RNA test is positive, the person has a current infection. However, if no HCV viral RNA is detected, the person either does not have an active infection or the virus is very low in numbers.
HCV RNA test
There is no infection, or too early after exposure for the test to be accurate; if suspicion remains high, a retest may be required later.
Positive or Indeterminate
Past infection or no infection (false positive screen); additional tests may be required
Positive or Weak or Indeterminate
Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about HCV Antibody - Immunochromatography
Frequently Asked Questions about HCV Antibody - Immunochromatography
Q. What is the full form of HCV?
Q. What is an Anti-HCV test?
Q. What are the commonly used hepatitis C tests?
Q. What are the early symptoms of a hepatitis C infection?
Q. Is there a vaccine for hepatitis C?
Q. Can hepatitis C be spread through food or water?
Q. How is hepatitis C infection transmitted?
Q. What does a positive HCV Antibody test result mean?
Q. What are the additional tests required if the hepatitis C virus total antibody test result is positive?
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- Hepatitis C (no date) World Health Organization. World Health Organization. [Accessed 03 Apr. 2023]. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-c
- Alcohol and hepatitis C (no date) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. [Accessed 03 Apr. 2023]. Available from: https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-4/245-254.htm
- Healthdirect. Hepatitis C [Internet]. 2022 July [Accessed 28 Feb. 2023]. Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hepatitis-c
- Rochester.edu. Hepatitis C Antibody [Internet]. University of Rochester Medical Center; [Accessed 28 Feb. 2023]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=hepatitis_c_antibody