Point of Care Testing
Make the most of your health and wellness.
What is Point of Care Testing?
Point of Care Testing is a term used for any medical test or screening that is performed outside of a clinical laboratory, close to where a patient receives care. It is a way to provide convenient, easy access to care and results in a relatively short period of time.
What is Hepatitis C?
The Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is one of the many causes of inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C can be serious as it can progress to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. It is estimated there are 250,000 to 400,000 Canadians that have Hepatitis C and 44% of people don't know they have it. Hepatitis C is transmitted from one person to another through blood or blood products that are infected with the virus.
The good news is treatment is available and offers a cure rate of over 95%. It is important to screen for hepatitis C as the disease is often silent. You can live with hepatitis C and have no symptoms for 20 to 30 years but damage to the liver may progress over this time. The Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver recommends that all individuals born between 1945 and 1975 be tested and screened for Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C Screening Program
The Hepatitis C Screening includes:
- An OraQuick HCV rapid antibody test (which is more than 99% accurate)
- A quick finger prick and blood sample
- Test results within 20 minutes
- One-on-one counselling on hepatitis C, explanation of results, steps to protect your liver, and what to expect if the results are positive
The OraQuick HCV rapid antibody test detects hepatitis C antibodies in the blood. Antibodies are produced by the immune system as a result of a foreign substance (such as a virus) in the body.
If a test is negative, then the person does not have hepatitis C. However, if a person has been recently exposed, then the person will need to be retested as it may take several months for the antibody response to reach detectable levels.
If a test is positive, that means antibodies were detected in the blood and the person was exposed to hepatitis C sometime in the past. This does not confirm if the person still has hepatitis C since in 25% of cases, individuals exposed to the virus may clear the virus on their own. Thus, a second blood test, called the HCV RNA test, is needed to determine if the person has an active hepatitis C infection. This test detects the actual virus in the blood and can measure the amount of virus in the body.
Through our screening program, if the HCV RNA test confirms a person has an active hepatitis C infection, a specialist will be able to see the person within approximately 2 to 4 weeks from time of referral for further assessment and treatment.
For more information on Hepatitis C and community support
Point of Care Testing Locations