February 13, 2024

Testing for Hepatitis C. Can I Do It at Home?

Is testing for Hepatitis C at home possible? Yes, it is! Typically, you can get an at-home Hepatitis C testing kit, get through with the test, and send your blood to the lab to have it analyzed. But, with our solution, it is much simpler – all you have to do is get our app and a testing kit, and you can analyze the results at home within just a few minutes. In this article, we discuss Hepatitis C testing in detail – read on if this is a topic that you wish to learn about.

Key Takeaways

  • Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus attacking your liver.
  • HCV might be transmitted through contact with the blood of those infected, but also during sexual intercourse.
  • How do you get a test for Hepatitis C infection? You can do it at home with special kits that you later send to a laboratory, use our Hepatitis C test that you can read with our app, or go to a laboratory for testing HCV.
  • Many people do not realize that they have Hepatitis C; hence, it is crucial that you do a screening test once in your life.
  • After testing positive for Hepatitis C, you might be prescribed anti-viral medicine, sent on liver screenings, or even ordered to change your lifestyle to reduce the damage caused by the virus.

You might also read: how to test blood sugar levels at home?

Understanding Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a viral infection that may wreak havoc on your liver. Most people do not realize that they have it since it may take years for the first symptoms to occur. This is especially unsettling, considering how easy it is to get infected. This includes:

  • sexual contact with people having HCV,
  • being born to a mother with HCV,
  • receiving an organ transplant from someone who has HCV,
  • being on long-term kidney dialysis,
  • getting a tattoo, acupuncture or even drugs with a needle that wasn’t disinfected and was previously used on someone with HCV,
  • sharing items such as toothbrushes or razors with someone who has HCV.

In general terms, it goes down to any situation in which your blood, eyes, or mouth could have contact with the blood of someone with Hepatitis C. When adding to that the fact that HCV can be symptomless for years, it becomes clear that you should test yourself from time to time – not only to start the treatment but also to make sure that you don’t risk infecting other people.

Hepatitis C Symptoms

And, since we are on the topic of the symptoms (or rather their lack of the initial phases of the infection), let’s discuss the most common ones that might indicate that you should get a Hepatitis C test. So, what do you need to watch out for?

  • Bleeding and bruising easily,
  • fatigue,
  • lack of appetite,
  • dark urine,
  • fever,
  • skin yellowing (jaundice),
  • abdominal swelling,
  • pain in the right upper abdomen,
  • leg swelling.

How Do You Get a Test for Hepatitis C Infection?

How to get a Hepatitis C test? You can do it at home or in a professional laboratory. While most at-home tests require you to send your blood to the lab anyway, you may always use our Scanbase solution – a simple kit with test result interpretation done via a mobile app.

In general, there are two ways of testing for Hepatitis C: antibody test and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for measuring the viral load. The former will determine whether you have ever been infected with HCV (the antibodies stay for life), while the latter is used in cases where you are still infected. You might also come across antibody tests where the results can be reactive or non-reactive, meaning that you were infected with the virus or you are currently not infected, respectively. In case the test is reactive, further tests are conducted to see whether you are still infected or not.

Why Are Hepatitis C Tests So Important?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of Americans have Hepatitis C, but most of them do not know about it. (2013) Therefore, it is crucial to have at least one screening test to determine whether you are infected or not.

Additionally, since so many people do not realize that they have HCV, it is a good idea to get a test after any situation in which you could possibly get infected – just remember that it is best to get a control Hepatitis C test 6 months after the situation and first test.

I’ve Done a Test and Got Hepatitis C Positive – What Do I Do?

If, after testing for Hepatitis C, you get a reactive, positive test, you need to consult your doctor. Most typically, you will be prescribed antiviral medication. You might also need to have a liver test to see if the virus has caused any damage, and the physician might even make a plan to change your lifestyle. This might occur especially if you have been infected chronically for over half a year.

You might also read: At-Home Diagnostics - Risks & Possibilities

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013, October). Hepatitis C information on testing and diagnosing. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HCV/PDFs/HepCGettingTested-BW.PDF