An important topic is the factors and aspects that can affect the results of HCV screening. Thus, in most cases, the results of anti-HCV antibody screening are accurate and valid. However, it is important to note that in spite of the fact that patients do not need specific preparations before taking a test, they should inform healthcare providers about certain medications, supplements, and herbs that they consume because these substances can influence the accuracy of screening.
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Thus, these substances can cause inadequate changes in HCV antibody levels (McCance, Huether, Brashers, & Rote, 2015; Poiteau et al., 2016). In addition, patients should provide healthcare specialists with information about their past medical history and events that can be discussed as risk factors. These aspects can influence physicians’ decisions regarding taking other tests to prove the received results.
Referring to the tests’ sensitivity and specificity, it is possible to state that false negatives and false positives are rare, but certain factors can influence the findings. The problem is that there is a “window” period that is associated with the time after being infected and the immune system’s response (Nguyen et al., 2015). During this period, antibodies cannot be found with the help of the discussed tests for identifying HCV. This period can last from four to six weeks. Therefore, the focus should be on the information provided by a patient about events that could lead to an infection and on an RNA test that is effective to detect HCV, not antibodies (Nguyen et al., 2015; Poiteau et al., 2016). These actions are important to guarantee the accuracy of a diagnosis.
McCance, K. L., Huether, S. E., Brashers, V., & Rote, N. S. (2015). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (7th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier. Web.
Nguyen, L. T., Dunford, L., Freitas, I., Holder, P., Nguyen, L. A., O’Gorman, J.,… De Gascun, C. (2015). Hepatitis C virus core mutations associated with false-negative serological results for genotype 3a core antigen. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 53(8), 2697-2700. Web.
Poiteau, L., Soulier, A., Rosa, I., Roudot‐Thoraval, F., Hezode, C., Pawlotsky, J. M., & Chevaliez, S. (2016). Performance of rapid diagnostic tests for the detection of antibodies to hepatitis C virus in whole blood collected on dried blood spots. Journal of Viral Hepatitis, 23(5), 399-401. Web.