This infection of the liver is caused by the hepatitis C virus. About 3.5 million people in the U.S. have the disease. But it causes few symptoms, so most of them don't know.
There are many forms of the hepatitis C virus. The most common in the U.S. is type 1. None is more serious than any other, but they respond differently to treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis C?
Many people with Hepatitis have no symptoms. But you could notice these:
Jaundice (a condition that causes yellow eyes and skin, as well as dark urine)
Loss of appetite
Why Should I Get Tested for Hepatitis C ?
In 2012 The CDC recommends for everyone born from 1945 – 1965. While anyone can get Hepatitis C, up to 75% of adults infected with Hepatitis C were born from 1945 - 1965 so get tested for the disease if you:
Received blood from a donor who had the disease.
Have ever injected drugs.
Had a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before July 1992.
Received a blood product used to treat clotting problems before 1987.
Were born between 1945 and 1965.
Have been on long-term kidney dialysis.
Were born to a mother with hepatitis C.
How Do You Get It?
The virus spreads through the blood or body fluids of an infected person.
You can catch it from:
Sharing drugs and needles
Having sex, especially if you have an STD, an HIV infection, several partners, or have rough sex
Being stuck by infected needles
Birth -- a mother can pass it to a child
How Do Hepatitis C Tests Work?
Blood test, called a Hepatitis C Antibody Test are used or Hep C testing. To find out if a person has ever been infected with Hepatitis C. The Hepatitis C Antibody Test looks for antibodies to the Hepatitis C virus. Antibodies are chemicals released into the bloodstream when someone gets infected. The antibody test results will take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to come back, although new Rapid Antibody Tests are available in some settings and only take a few minutes to get results back. Our Organization offers the Rapid Antibody Test done in our office if you would like to get this test done please contact us and set up an appointment today.
A Non-reactive or a negative Hepatitis C antibody test result means that a person does not have Hepatitis C. However, if a person has been recently exposed to the Hepatitis C virus, he or she will need to be tested again.
A Reactive or a positive Hepatitis C antibody test result means that Hepatitis C antibodies were found in the blood and a person has been infected with the Hepatitis C virus at some point in time.
*Please Note* A reactive antibody test does not necessarily mean a person still has Hepatitis C. Once people have been infected, they will always have antibodies in their blood. This is true if even if they have cleared the Hepatitis C virus. A reactive antibody test requires an additional, follow-up test to determine if a person is currently infected with Hepatitis C.