What is a Hepatitis C Rapid Test?
A hepatitis C rapid test is a test for the detection of specific antibodies against the hepatitis C virus. These tell us whether a hepatitis C infection is present or not. The test works with a small blood sample and can be evaluated after a few minutes.
Some tests are available on the Internet for home use. However, these tests are not reliable. If a hepatitis infection is suspected, it is better to go to a doctor. This saves a lot of money on the one hand and on the other hand a doctor must be consulted at the latest when a positive home test is obtained in order to carry out a confirmation test and initiate a therapy.
Indications for a hepatitis C rapid test
In the first phase of the disease, hepatitis C usually runs its course without symptoms. Clinical signs of infection may include fatigue, lack of appetite, pain in the right upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting and fever. If these symptoms occur, a test for hepatitis may be useful.
A test for hepatitis C also makes sense for people who belong to a risk group. This includes people who use drugs, especially if they have shared needles and other drug equipment (“needle sharing”). People who have unprotected sex with frequently changing sexual partners are also at risk for hepatitis C. The last risk group is medical staff after a needle-stick injury or after mucous membrane contact with potentially infectious secretions.
When does a hepatitis C rapid test not make sense?
First of all, it should be pointed out again that it is not recommended to carry out a hepatitis C rapid test at home. The test is not suitable for people at no risk, as they are unlikely to be affected. However, if in doubt, it is advisable to have a reliable test performed by a physician. It also does not make sense to perform a hepatitis C rapid test before a period of 10 weeks has elapsed after the potential infection. Before this time, the amount of antibodies in the blood is not high enough to detect them reliably.