Hepatitis C Antibody
A hepatitis C antibody test is used to find out if you are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). When your body is infected with a virus, it produces antibodies to fight the virus. The hepatitis C antibody test looks for antibodies that the body produces in response to the presence of HCV.
HCV infects the liver, often causing inflammation and damage. It can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. It's more common in developing nations.
Why do I need this test?
Every adult who is 18 years of age or older should have this test at least once to screen for HCV. You may also need this test if your healthcare provider suspects that you have HCV. If you are infected with HCV, you probably won't have any symptoms at first. Consequently, the CDC recommends having the test if you:
- Ever injected illegal drugs
- Had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
- Received clotting factor concentrates for haemophilia before 1987
- Are the child of a mother with HCV
- Have been a sexual partner of someone with HCV
- Have HIV
- Are a healthcare worker who may have been exposed to HCV
HCV can lead to liver disease, which has these symptoms:
- Dark urine
- Grey- or clay-colored stool
- Yellow skin (jaundice)
- Decreased appetite
- Frequent bruising
- Belly pain
Symptoms of severe liver disease include mental confusion and swelling of your feet, ankles, and belly.