Anti HCV testDr. Spurti KattimaniLast Updated on 24th January 2022
Table of contents
Request a Call Back
What is an Anti HCV test used for?
An anti HCV test is done to detect antibodies present in the body in response to the Hepatitis C Virus. It helps determine the cause of many subsets of symptoms affecting the liver and other associated organs in the body. Hepatitis C or HCV, if left untreated, may cause long-term liver diseases and/or death.
It is also a primary surveillance tool for controlling the spread of the Hepatitis C Virus. Anyone with recent exposure to an infected individual, especially a healthcare worker, should get tested on a routine basis.
Hepatitis C Virus has been a major reason for liver transplantation worldwide and therefore, anti HCV test plays a pivotal role in reducing this health burden.
What is included in the Anti HCV test?
Antibodies are proteins produced in our bodies to fight infections. Our immune system functions to detect any microorganism that poses a threat to the normal working of organs. Once such microorganisms are detected, antibodies are manufactured by the host, which may take a few days to weeks. These antibodies bind to the antigen, in this case, the Hepatitis C Virus, forming an antigen-antibody complex thus eliminating or modifying the virus.
Our liver works to filter blood and helps break down poisonous substances such as alcohol and drugs and drives away waste from the body by producing bile.
When the liver is infected with Hepatitis C Virus, it can produce the following symptoms:
- Nausea or lightheadedness
- Dark urine
- Gray or clay-coloured stools
- Reduced appetite
- Yellow colour skin (jaundice)
- Stomach or lower abdomen pain
- Severe disease can also lead to mental confusion and profuse swelling of the abdomen, and hands and feet.
The presence or absence of antibodies to the Hepatitis C Virus are confirmed with an anti HCV test.
Procedure for an Anti HCV test
- A small amount of blood under absolutely aseptic conditions will be drawn from your vein near the arm or forearm with a sterile, disposable needle and syringe.
- A tourniquet will be applied around the upper part of the arm. You will feel a small prick while the needle is in place.
- The tourniquet will be removed once the blood is taken in the syringe. A small, disposable bandage will be applied to the pricked site to minimize the pooling of blood and prevent infection.
- The blood sample is then stored in proper devices to be transported to the designated laboratory.
- Antibodies are confirmed with the help of the Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test. The ELISA test is the gold standard for such antibody-linked tests and has a high reliability and sensitivity rate.
How to prepare for an Anti-HCV test
- You will need to inform your physician or doctor, lab technician and caregiver about any existing medicines being taken or any procedure that you have undergone in the past year.
- Food intake does not interfere with the collection of samples and therefore, there is no need to fast before sample collection.
- A comfortable sitting posture is advised for the test with a hands-on armrest.
- One must practice breathing with intermediate long breaths to facilitate smooth sample collection after pinprick and minimize discomfort.
- You must monitor yourself for any signs of dizziness and nausea while a blood sample is being taken.
Things to consider after anti HCV test is complete
The lab technician will instruct you to sit comfortably for some time while you recover from the procedure. It is recommended that you monitor and inform the technician/doctor immediately if you experience dizziness and nausea. Slight amount of soreness and discoloration around the puncture site may be experienced. Depending on the test results, your doctor may advise you to also undergo an RNA test to further determine the viral load (viremia) in the body. It is known as the HCV RNA test.
*What types of infection can an Anti HCV test detect?
An anti HCV test can detect infection with Hepatitis C Virus by confirming the presence of antibodies to the virus in the body with the help of an ELISA test.
How much does an anti HCV test cost?*
The average cost of an anti HCV test in major Indian cities has been listed below.
|Book anti HCV test in Delhi||1001|
|Book anti HCV test in Ahmedabad||954|
|Book anti HCV test in Mumbai||676|
|Book anti HCV test in Chennai||795|
|Book anti HCV test in Indore||712|
*Disclaimer: The value varies based on location, time, and your preferred lab partner.
How long does it take to get the results for the Anti HCV test?
You can expect to get the results for the anti HCV test within 24 to 48 hours after the sample is collected. However, in certain cases, depending on the location, medical advice and preferred lab partner, it may take longer.
What do abnormal Anti HCV test results indicate?
Interpretation of an anti HCV test includes the presence or absence of antibodies to the Hepatitis C Virus.
A positive report may indicate the presence of infection from the Hepatitis C Virus causing liver cirrhosis, liver failure, cancer or any other related conditions around the liver. Once positive, you may be advised to get an RNA test done to confirm the presence of the Hepatitis virus in your blood.
A negative or normal result, on the other hand, indicates the absence of Hepatitis C Virus in the body.
Disclaimer: Please consult with your doctor for interpreting the test reports.
Is an Anti HCV a definitive test?
An anti HCV test is a relatively definitive test which means that the results may be falsely positive or negative depending on the time when a blood sample was tested. If a person gets infected with Hepatitis C Virus and gets tested for antibodies within a few days, results may show a negative report.
How to read the Anti HCV report?
The test results will appear as:
- Positive: Confirms the presence of antibodies to the Hepatitis C Virus. There are two possibilities in this situation – the antibodies have cleared the virus from the body and the body is completely cured or that the virus is still circulating within the body and needs to be addressed.
- Negative or normal: Confirms the current absence of antibodies to the Hepatitis C Virus.
There is no reference range for this test as it does not measure specific amounts of any particular substance.
Why book an Anti HCV test?
Anti HCV test is a primary screening tool for Hepatitis C Virus in the body. The early detection of the virus may prevent many associated conditions and improve quality of life. One must undergo an anti HCV test if any of the following holds true:
- If your mother is or was a Hepatitis C Virus carrier or sufferer.
- You have received blood from a Hepatitis C Virus blood donor.
- You had sexual contact or intercourse with an HCV positive individual.
- Received coagulant therapy before the 1980s.
- You were exposed to the Hepatitis C Virus in the last 6 months.
- You may or may not have symptoms of liver disease but still are a carrier of the virus.
- Someone is a known case of HIV.
- You are a health worker with possible exposure to Hepatitis positive patients.
- Before any major surgery.
- During pregnancy.
All these ensure and possibly rule out the chances of having Hepatitis once you get an anti HCV test done.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends testing of all individuals exposed to the virus or when a potential threat for infection exists.
Anti HCV test at home – how does it work?
The anti HCV test is just like any other blood test. A lab technician visits your home when you book your tests through the MFine app. The lab technician first cleans the arm and then inserts a syringe into a vein. The required amount of blood is then taken into a vial. The lab technician then removes the needle and places cotton wool or a bandage over the prick.
Are there any risks involved with Anti HCV?
The needle prick may induce bleeding, soreness and discomfort for a while after the procedure is complete. One may even feel light-headed and all these symptoms usually subside on their own and rarely require special attention.
What can affect the results of Anti HCV tests?
When done in an early stage of exposure or infection, results may be false-negative and may prompt one to avoid consultation with a doctor. This may be harmful and is not advisable. The possibility of an infection or any associated condition must be ruled out completely.
Past infection with the Hepatitis C Virus or exposure not amounting to significant infection or symptoms may not be detected through an anti HCV test. A mild infection with or without symptoms may also be reported as negative for the virus.
For further assistance
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs
Is the lab technician coming for an anti HCV test sample collection vaccinated?
Yes. Our lab technicians are fully vaccinated. Further, they also ensure safety throughout by wearing a mask, gloves, and frequently sanitizing themselves during the sample collection.
Does MFine provide the interpretation for the results along with the reports?
Yes, MFine provides the interpretation for the result along with the reports. You can also avail of a free medical consultation with a doctor to understand your reports accurately. The doctor will also advise and prescribe medicines, if required, based on the results.
How can I download my anti HCV test report?
- Log in to MFine
- Go to your profile
- Click on Attachment and Reports
- Click on Lab Report
- Download the report
Are there any discount offers running on anti HCV tests?
Usually you can avail up to a 50% discount on anti HCV through MFine. However, the discount and test price may vary based on lab partner and location.
How does the Hepatitis C Virus spread?
Primary source of getting infected is blood and sexual contact. Blood contact can be through receiving infected blood, injecting drugs into the body with a contaminated needle, a child born to a positive mother, organ transplant, etc. Sexual contact is through intercourse, having multiple sex partners and partners being positive or a virus carrier.
Are there any vaccines available for Hepatitis C Virus?
There is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C Virus currently. Vaccines are available for Hepatitis A and B viruses. There is extensive research going on at present in this respect. But if you do get infected, early treatment for approximately 3 months may help you recover completely.
How often should I get tested for Hepatitis C Virus antibodies?
Every pregnant woman should get herself tested regularly during pregnancy and as frequently as prescribed by her physician or obstetrician. Health workers must also get tested every 3 months or when there is an incidental exposure.
What are the treatment options available for Hepatitis C Virus?
Your doctor will start you on medications that help improve symptoms and control the viral load in your body. Most Hepatitis infections resolve on their own due to the strong immune system of our body. When the viral load is beyond the capacity of the immune system to fight, it turns into a chronic disease with associated complications and that requires long-term care and rehabilitation.
Can HCV spread within my family members?
HCV can only spread to other family members when there is contact through the blood of the infected person. It is not an airborne or touch-prone infection. One must be careful in handling patient-related body fluids and the use of needles.
Disclaimer: The content is uniquely informative and is meant for educational use. Kindly use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified or registered healthcare provider.