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At Home Hepatitis C Testing

Hepatitis C Test

Hepatitis C is an infection caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). You probably won’t know you have this unless you take a Hepatitis C test. Your liver is impacted by an HCV infection, which could lead to a host of other health issues, including liver failure and possibly death.

The virus is usually spread through blood contact associated with sharing poorly sterilized equipment, IVs, and blood transfusions. But, you can get HCV through bodily fluids, like semen or saliva from an infected person.

While you may not know that you have this virus until you take a Hepatitis C test, know that this virus is curable and there are new antiviral drugs that treat this infection.

Getting a Hepatitis C test early is important, since progression from acute stage to chronic stage and beyond can result in disease of the liver, cirrhosis, and death.

How Can You Get Hepatitis C?

A Hepatitis C infection is often contracted through infected blood. Sharing needles is said to be the most common way this virus is spread in the U.S. That includes sharing needles beyond drugs and medical purposes; including piercing, tattoos, or acupuncture.

You can also get Hepatitis C through bodily fluid contact such as semen or saliva from an infected person through oral sex, intercourse, and anal sex. You won’t get Hepatitis C by kissing someone with the virus, or if they cough or sneeze on you.

It is pretty rare to get Hepatitis C through sex—one study said found 1 out of every 190,000 instances of heterosexual sexual contact led to HCV transmission. But you could get HCV if you have sex with a woman with Hep C while she’s menstruating, or, if your partner has an open sore or cut and you’re in contact with their blood.

You’re more likely to contact Hepatitis C if you have more than one sexual partner, don’t use protection, participate in rough sex that causes bleeding, or, if you or your partner already has an existing STD.

About 50 to 90 percent of people who use IV drugs and have HIV also have hepatitis C, according to the CDC.

There isn’t a vaccine for Hepatitis C yet. The best ways to avoid contracting this are to avoid shared needles and practice safe sex.

Signs You Need to Take a Hepatitis C Test

An early stage chronic hepatitis C virus usually has no symptoms, which is why you need a hepatitis C test to determine if you have this. You may not notice Hepatitis C “flu-like” symptoms like those below until the disease has progressed and been in your system for about six months.

Hepatitis C Symptoms in Men
  •      Abdominal pain and tenderness
  •      Discolored urine
  •      Poor appetite
  •      Weight loss
  •      Fatigue
  •      Fever with chills
  •      Legs swelling
  •      Muscle aches
  •      Nausea
  •      Spider-like blood vessels on your skin
  •      Fluid building up in the abdomen
  •      Yellowish hue in the whites of your eyes
  •      Skin with a yellowish tinge
Hepatitis C Symptoms in Women
  •      Abdominal pain
  •      Dark-colored urine
  •      Achy muscles
  •      Nausea
  •      Fever with chills
  •      Fatigue
  •      Yellowish eyes
  •      Fluid in the abdomen
  •      Bleeding easily
  •      Blood vessels on your skin that look like spiders
  •      Itchy skin
  •      Weight loss
  •      Discolored urine
  •      Swollen legs
  •      Skin with a yellowish tinge
Where Can I Get a Hepatitis C Test?

You should take a Hepatitis C test in order to determine if you have acute Hepatitis C. This early-stage hepatitis C often goes undiagnosed because it rarely causes symptoms.

You can get a Hepatitis C test done at your doctor’s office through a blood test, or, screen for HCV at home. Simply prick your arm and send off the blood sample to myLAB Box’s labs. You’ll get results in about five days. Learn how to use an at home Hepatitis C test here.

Getting a Hepatitis C test as soon as possible can help you get treatment to stop it from progressing beyond the early stages.

What Happens If I Have Hepatitis C?

If your Hepatitis C test comes back positive, there are oral medications you can take. You’ll probably need to be on these medications for two to six months to heal the infection.

Let your partner know that you have Hepatitis C so he or she can get a Hepatitis C test.

Get a Hepatitis C test every few months and ask your sexual partner to be tested, too. Being informed about your sexual health status is the only way to have peace of mind.

Make sure you take another Hepatitis C test within three months after a positive test to confirm whether your treatment worked. If you tested negative for Hepatitis C, it’s a good idea to take another test in three to four months since the infection is often dormant for 8 to 9 weeks.

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