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HEP C viral Load Tests

How HEP C viral Load Tests are used?

Hepatitis C tests are utilized to detect and diagnose an infection or to administer the treatment of the HCV or hepatitis C. Tests are performed to detect the condition if an individual:

  • Involved in high risk behaviors like injecting street drugs
  • Has been exposed to someone with HCV
  • Has unusual liver function test
  • Has symptoms related with liver disease, like dark urine, jaundice, nausea, or unexpected weight gain or loss

The given HEP C viral load tests may be used to screen to detect HCV

Anti-HCV test This test detects the existence of antibodies to the virus, showing exposure to HCV. The test does not make any difference between someone with an active or a previous HCV infection. Normally, the test is stated as negative or positive. If it appears to be weakly positive, it may be a false positive. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that weakly positive tests should be confirmed with HCV RIBA test before being reported. RIBA (recombinant immunoblot assay) test is a complimentary test that is performed for confirming the existence of HCV. In many cases, it shows that if the positive anti-HCV test was because of the exposure to HCV or stands for a false positive. However, in some cases the results appears to be neutral that is called as an indeterminate RIBA. RIBA test cannot differentiate between a present or past infection like the anti-HCV test.

The given tests may be utilized to diagnose a present infection and to direct and to monitor treatment

HCV RNA test Qualitative

This test may be used to differentiate between a present or past infection. It displays as a positive or detected if any HCV viral RNA is found. If not, then it shows the negative result or not detected. It may be used after HCV treatment is finished to check that if the virus has been removed from the blood. These tests are rarely used any more.

HCV Viral Load (HCV RNA test, Quantitative)

The test detects and measures the RNA particles in the blood. These tests are used before and during the treatment of HCV to assist and determine the response to the treatment by evaluating the amount of virus before and during the treatment.

Viral genotyping

It is used to decide the kind or genotype of HCV present. There are six chief types of HCV. Moreover, generally it needs longer therapy i.e. 48 weeks versus 24 weeks for genotype 2 or 3.

When is it ordered?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests screening for HCV infection in the given cases

  • If you are injected with illegal drugs
  • Children born to HCV- positive women
  • For emergency medicine, health care, and public safety workers after needle sticks, mucosal or sharps exposure to HCV-positive blood
  • For people with evidence of chronic liver disease

HEP C viral load tests are used to detect HCV. The given information regarding the tests would help you to understand the nature of these tests.


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