Screening for Viral Hepatitis
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The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions. During screening, invasive tests, such as ]]>biopsies]]> , are not done.
Screening is a method of finding out if you have hepatitis before you begin to have any symptoms. Screening involves:
- Assessing your medical history and lifestyle habits that may increase or decrease your risk of hepatitis
- Undergoing tests to identify early signs of hepatitis, including blood tests for hepatitis antigens and antibodies
Blood tests can screen or routinely check for hepatitis in people who are at increased risk for infection. These tests involve checking for the presence or absence of hepatitis antigens and antibodies. Antigens are foreign proteins; antibodies are proteins that your body has made to fight infectious agents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends screening for hepatitis in pregnant women at their first prenatal visit, and in people at high risk for the disease. Common risk factors for ]]>hepatitis B]]> and ]]>hepatitis C]]> include:
- IV drugs (or having sex with someone that used IV drugs)
- Recipients of blood clotting products (especially older types that have not gone through modern purification and production methods).
- Recipients of blood, especially prior to 1992
- Recipients of a solid organ transplant, especially prior to 1992 when improved screening tests were developed
- Persistent elevation of certain liver function tests
- Chronic ]]>hemodialysis]]>
- People who have ever shared a personal item (toothbrush, razor, or other item that had blood on it, even if not visible) with someone who has hepatitis
- Sexual partner who has hepatitis
- Sexual partner who has or had a ]]>sexually transmitted disease]]> (STD)
- Anyone with an STD
- Undiagnosed liver problems
- Healthcare workers exposed to blood or bodily fluids
- Infants of mothers with hepatitis
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ .
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ .
Last reviewed January 2010 by ]]>David L. Horn, MD, FACP]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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