Hepatitis C is a virus that damages the liver. If left untreated, it can lead to liver disease and other serious long-term health problems.
Many people do not realize that they have hepatitis C .There are specific risk factors for contracting the virus, such as age and exposure to blood or body fluids.
What is the hepatitis C antibody test?
A blood sample will be required for a hepatitis C antibody test.
The antibody test is a blood test to check for infection with the hepatitis C virus.
An antibody is a protein made by the body to protect against bacteria and disease. Antibodies can detect substances that could cause harm to health.
The medical term for these harmful substances is an antigen. When an antibody recognizes an antigen, it will destroy it or stop it traveling further into the body.
Antibodies are specific to a particular bacteria or disease, and they stay in the body after someone has been infected. This means that the antibodies should be able to fight off the same disease in future.
The hepatitis C antibody test checks for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus. If there are antibodies in the body, it means that a person has been infected with the virus at some point. However, it does not always mean that they still have the virus.
A medical professional will take a small sample of blood to be sent away for testing. The results may take a few days or weeks to come back.
What do the results mean?
There are two results from a hepatitis C antibody test.
After a diagnosis, further tests will be carried out to determine the impact of the hepatitis C virus on the body.
Once diagnosed with hepatitis C, a person will need to undergo a series of different tests to see how the virus has affected their body.
These tests will check for any liver damage, identify how well the liver is working, and help a healthcare professional to decide on treatment.
Hepatitis C is treated with medication known as an antiviral. It gets this name because it aims to clear the virus out of the body.
A person with hepatitis C will require regular testing during treatment to see how well the medication is working. Keeping healthy, getting enough sleep, and avoiding drugs and alcohol can help treatment to work.
Other hepatitis C tests
After an individual has received a reactive or positive result from a hepatitis C antibody test, they will need to have two follow-up tests.
The first test checks to see whether a person still has the virus; the other measures the amount of the virus in the blood.
The second test is the hep C RNA quantitative test. The result of this test is given as a number rather than a positive or negative. This is because the test compares the amount of the virus in the body before, during, and after treatment.
The number given as a result of this test is known as the viral load. The lower amount of the hepatitis C virus in the blood, the better the chances that a person can eliminate the virus from their body.