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Hepatitis C Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

The HCV test or the Hepatitis C blood test is done to check for proteins and genetic material of the hepatitis C virus. If you have the hepatitis C virus in your blood, then these can be spotted with the help of this test. The results of the test are crucial as the treatment plan depends heavily on it. A doctor can prescribe medicines and treat the patient only when he is sure about the kind of hepatitis virus that has affected the person.

You must remember that hepatitis C can spread through another person’s infected blood. There’s another test known as anti-HCV antibody test or hepatitis c antibody test.

The HCV test, where the genetic material of the virus is assessed, is done by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). One can find the genetic material known as RNA, in the body after a couple of weeks of contracting the disease.  The HCV quantitative test, known as viral load, is done to ascertain the time frame of the treatment. There’s yet another test known as the HCV viral genotyping. This is done to determine the genotype of the HCV virus.

Reasons for the hepatitis C virus testing

The reasons are as follows –

  • The HCV test is done to find out the kind of hepatitis virus that is inflicting the patient.
  • The tests are used to screen those people, who are at a risk of spreading or getting the infection. Nurses, dentists, and doctors are susceptible to getting this hepatitis virus.
  • Potential blood donors are screened through this test. If a person has this virus, then he cannot donate blood.

Preparation

You don’t need to do anything special for this particular test. You can discuss your concerns with the doctor at this stage and ask him to explain the finer points of the test.

Procedure

This test is done through a simple blood test. A health professional will follow the standard procedure for a blood test. A needle is inserted into the vein, after an elastic band has been wrapped around the upper arm, and the area is cleaned with alcohol.

After some blood has been drawn out, a piece of cotton wool is placed on the injected area to stop the blood flow.

How does it feel after this Test

You might feel a pinch when the needle is inserted, and the elastic band might feel tight around your arm.

Risks

You need not worry as this is a simple blood test

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