What is Anti HCV?

By | 1 June 2021

Hepatitis C, which causes inflammation of the liver tissue, is a viral infection. The hepatitis C virus, which causes severe damage to the liver and causes cirrhosis, is transmitted through the blood. The use of drugs or needles used more than once in non-sterilized tattoo devices is seen as the main factor in the transmission of the disease. The disease, which can be transmitted from an infected mother to her baby, can also rarely be transmitted sexually. Transmission by contact with other body fluids other than saliva, urine, and blood is also very rare. This is because the hepatitis C virus is only found in the blood. However, in case of mixing blood with body fluids for any reason, the disease can be transmitted. The virus, which is also found in menstrual blood, can be transmitted during contact with this blood. In addition, personal care products such as toothbrushes and razor blades, earrings, non-sterilized manicures, and pedicure tools used in hairdressers can also play a role in the transmission of the disease, since they can come into contact with blood. Since the blood taken for blood transfusion is tested against the hepatitis C virus, as well as many diseases, the possibility of transmission of the virus in this way is very low. The test performed on people suspected of hepatitis C, especially blood is taken from blood donors, is called the Anti HCV test. Anti HCV is also the name given to the antibodies developed in the body of the person against the Hepatitis C virus. Before explaining what it means to be Anti HCV negative or positive, it is necessary to understand what Anti HCV is.

What is anti HCV?

Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is silent in the body until the last stages of the disease, does not show any symptoms, especially in the acute hepatitis period. In this case, which is called asymptomatic, it takes about 4 to 6 weeks to detect the Hepatitis C virus in the body with the tests performed. The symptoms seen in the last stages are weakness, fatigue, swelling, and pain in the upper abdomen defined as dyspepsia. After the hepatitis C virus infects the body, the defense mechanism starts to produce antibodies by showing resistance against the virus. Anti HCV is the name given to the antibodies in the body of the person infected with the Hepatitis C virus and developed by the defense mechanism against the Hepatitis C virus. Detection of this situation is possible with the Anti HCV test performed in the laboratory by taking blood. A positive anti HCV test indicates that the person has been infected by the virus. However, the test must be repeated several times to be sure of positivity. This is because approximately 30% of patients who test positive for HCV get an HCV negative result when the test is repeated. In some cases, the same level of positivity can be seen when the test is repeated after 3-4 weeks. In this case, false positivity can be mentioned due to interference. The RIBA test is performed when deemed necessary for verification. If this test is positive, the PCR test used to determine the amount of HCV RNA is applied. Although there is no medicine or preventive vaccine to eradicate the hepatitis C virus, which is diagnosed with the anti HCV test, studies on this subject continue at full speed and many new drugs are added to the treatment protocols. The aim of the treatment is to decrease the transaminase level known as high enzyme level, the destruction of HCV RNA in the liver tissue, the complete recovery of the liver degradation, the reduction of infectiousness, and the relief of symptoms if any.

What does anti-HCV positive mean?

According to the World Health Organization, hepatitis C is an RNA virus with a rate of approximately 1.5% in Turkey. The virus, which targets the liver of the person and can cause vital consequences if not treated, causes cancer at a rate of 1% to 2%. When infected with the hepatitis C virus, it causes structural changes in the liver and causes cirrhosis. However, the development of cirrhosis can occur in a wide period of time such as 5 to 50 years. The disease, which does not show symptoms until its last stages, is mostly learned when the person is being examined for different reasons or when donating blood. Therefore, after a suspected blood contact, Anti HCV test should be done. Anti HCV Positive value indicates the presence of antibodies against the hepatitis C virus in the person’s body, or in other words, the hepatitis C virus has been transmitted to the person. All values ​​above the cut-off value of 0.9 IU/mL indicate HCV positivity. However, the test is repeated several times against false positivity. The PCR test, which is used to determine the amount of HCV RNA, is used to clarify the HCV positivity, which can be seen from time to time even in people who have never been infected with the hepatitis C virus. Anti HCV positive results after the tests performed indicate that the person has Hepatitis C; It may indicate that the virus is ineffective in the person or that he has survived Hepatitis C disease. However, HCV positivity does not provide information about the stage of the disease or whether it is active. For this information, the HCV RNA test should be applied. In case of hepatitis C positivity as a result of this test, the person should meet with his/her physician for treatment. The physician often applies different treatment methods depending on the stage of the disease. Approximately 85% of patients diagnosed and treated in the early period show improvement. It is strongly discouraged to consume alcohol and use herbal medicine for hepatitis C patients who need to be regularly checked. A physician should be consulted before using any medical medication.

What does anti HCV negative mean?

In suspicious cases such as sexual intercourse, blood contact, needle sticking, Anti HCV test should be done to understand whether Anti HCV antibodies are produced in the body due to the Hepatitis C virus. This is another answer that can be given to the frequently asked question of what Anti HCV means. A negative result of the Anti HCV test performed in suspicious cases or during different tests indicates that the person is not infected by the Hepatitis C virus. However, a negative test is not an indication that the person is not infected with the hepatitis C virus. In some cases, even if the person is infected, the test may be negative because his body has not yet produced Anti HCV antibodies. Therefore, testing should be done from the 3rd month after suspected contacts. In the presence of high suspicion and when the physician deems it appropriate, the test should be repeated after 6 months.

Anti HCV result

Hepatitis C is a type of RNA virus that can be mild or lifelong and causes many different diseases. Hepatitis C, which can be transmitted from person to person as a result of blood contamination with tools such as needles, shared razors, and toothbrushes used more than once, can be transmitted from carrier mother to baby or from person to person as a result of sexual intercourse. In case of encountering such risky situations, Anti HCV test should be done. A positive anti HCV test indicates that the person’s body produces antibodies against the Hepatitis C virus, or in other words, that the person is infected with the Hepatitis C virus. A negative anti HCV test indicates that the person is not infected with the hepatitis C virus or that the body has not yet produced antibodies even if it is infected. Therefore, the test is repeated after a while to clarify the Anti-HCV result. In some uncertain cases, the physician may ask the person to have RIBA and PCR tests when deemed necessary.

For a healthy life, do not forget to have your health checks regularly.

 

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