FAQ

1.What is HCV?

A Silent Disease for Millions.
A Growing Need for Diagnosis.

An estimated 5.2 million people have been infected with or have hepatitis C while 3.2 million people in the United States are living with chronic hepatitis C infection making it the most common infection of the blood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 75% (2.4 million) people do not show signs or symptoms they are ill or know they are infected.

2.Who Should Get Tested?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health institutions recommend a one-time Hep C test for adults at high risk of infection:
People born between 1945 and 1965

• Known exposures
— Received blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
— Received clotting factor before 1987

• Are a chronic hemodialysis patient

• Had an accidental needlestick incident with a used needle

• Are a military veteran (especially Vietnam Veterans)

• Shared toothbrushes, razors, etc. with a person who has hepatitis C

• Had unprotected sex with a person with hepatitis C

• Were born to a mother who has hepatitis C

• Have an unregulated tattoo or body piercings

• Ever been incarcerated or worked in a jail or prison

• Have shared an injection needle, works or intranasal devices for illicit drug use – Even Once

• Have select medical contitions:
— Have unexplained chronic liver disease and hepatitis including alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels
— Have been diagnosed with HIV

 

3. How Do I Know if I Have Hep C?

 

The only way to know if you have hepatitis C is to get tested. Now there is a rapid test that can be performed right in your doctors office .
With HCV Rapid Antibody Test
• A simple oral test determines if you have ever been infected with Hep C virus
• Test results in 20 minutes
• Greater than 97.75% accurate

 

4.How Does the Test Work?

 

The HCV Rapid Antibody Test looks for antibodies to the Hep C virus. Antibodies are chemicals released into the bloodstream when someone gets infected. A swap of saliva is used to detect the antibodies.

A non-reactive test means that antibodies to Hep C have not been detected and you are not infected with Hep C. However, if you have been exposed to the Hep C virus in the last 6 months, you will need to be retested again at the advice of your doctor.

A reactive or positive antibody test means that Hep C antibodies were found in your saliva and that you have been infected with the Hep C virus at some point in time. A reactive test does not mean that you have active virus. You’ll need an additional test to determine if you are currently infected.

 

5. What is the symptoms of acute liver disease?

 

Loss of appetite

Swelling in your stomach

Dark urine

Light-colored stool

Nausea

Weakness

Chronic fatigue

Yellowish eyes or skin (jaundice)

Your liver utilizes key proteins and enzymes to help perform these functions. Our test will look at these markers to ensure that your liver is performing properly. Elevated enzyme levels may indicate acute or chronic liver disease.

6. What is the treatment of HCV?

 

You should talk to your health care provider about your treatment options and when treatment should begin.

  • The goal of treatment is to rid the body of the virus. This can prevent liver damage that may lead to liver failure or liver cancer.
  • Treatment is especially important for people who are showing signs of liver fibrosis or scarring.

Antiviral medicines are used to treat HCV. These drugs help fight HCV. Newer antiviral drugs:

  • Provide a much improved cure rate
  • Have fewer side effects and are easier to take
  • Are taken by mouth for 8 to 24 weeks

The choice of which medicine depends on the genotype of HCV you have.

A liver transplant may be recommended for people who develop cirrhosis and/or liver cancer. Your provider can tell you more about liver transplant.

If you have HCV:

  • Do not take over-the-counter medicines that you have not taken before without asking your provider. Also ask about vitamins and other supplements.
  • Do not use alcohol or street drugs. Alcohol can speed up the damage to your liver. It can also reduce how well medicines work.
  • If blood tests show that you do not have antibodies to hepatitis A and B, you need the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines. If you have not received a vaccine for hepatitis A or B or have not had these forms of hepatitis, you may need vaccination for them.

 

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