How to Use an At Home Hep C Test Kit

How to Use an At Home Hepatitis C Test Kit

Using an at Home Hepatitis Test Kit

There isn’t a vaccine that outright prevents Hepatitis C, but it can be treated and cured thanks to the latest antiviral drugs. That’s fantastic news, as long as you’ve been properly screened! Screening can take place at home using a Hep C test kit. With myLAB Box, order a Hep C test kit and use the finger prick to collect your blood sample. Ship the sample to our lab facility with the provided return label and your results will be available in our secure online portal in a few days!

As we mentioned earlier, routine testing is the key to taking control of your health. Most of the time, you may not realize if you’ve been exposed to an STD or other virus. Once an infection is diagnosed, you will be able to treat it before it becomes a problem. Regular screening for the most common infections is the smartest and safest way to learn your status.

The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is to avoid behaviors that can contract and spread the disease. That may not be a realistic option for everyone. The next best step is regular testing so you know your status and can treat immediately. Beyond that, experts recommend re-testing for Hep C roughly 3 months after a positive test result.

Worried you might have symptoms? Order a Hepatitis C home test kit and get results fast.

Understanding Hepatitis C

An untreated Hepatitis C progresses through several stages of infection. That’s why testing at a clinic or using an at-home testing kit is critical for accurately diagnosing Hep C. Without proper screening, it can be remarkably difficult to accurately track the symptoms of this disease. Identifiable signs can pop up at any point between 2-to-26 weeks after infection. For some, Hep C is a short-term illness. However for many, it can become a long-term, chronic infection that causes many complications, including death.

What is Hepatitis C?

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 That 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

These are the stages of Hepatitis C:

Normal Hepatitis C:

In the first phase of infection, you may experience fatigue, muscle aches, and tenderness in the abdomen. Your bowel movements may be surprisingly light in color, while your urine is a dark yellow color. In addition, your eyes and skin may acquire a yellowish tinge.

Acute Hepatitis C:

Acute Hep C adds more symptoms to the mix. In addition to those mentioned above, acute Hepatitis C may cause nausea and a low-grade fever. This is often accompanied by chills. You may suffer from loss of appetite and have mood swings. Many people have reported itching of the skin as well. There can be an accumulation of fluid at the feet. In some situations, acute Hep C has caused carriers to vomit blood.

Chronic Hepatitis:

The symptoms of this stage are the same as in the acute Hepatitis C phase, although some people go for years without displaying any symptoms. Often, the medical community refers to this phase as “dormant” or “latent” Hepatitis C. However, following latency, this disease manifests suddenly with liver inflammation and scarring. Complications may include liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and ultimately death.

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.