Hepatitis C Virus Tests
What To Think About
- There is no vaccine to prevent infections with the hepatitis C virus.
- Hepatitis antibodies can take weeks to develop, so your results may be negative even though you are in the early stage of an infection (Reference false-negative Opens New Window).
- All donated blood and organs are tested for hepatitis C before being used.
- Other tests that show how well the liver is working are usually done if your doctor thinks you may have hepatitis C. These may include blood tests for bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, and aspartate aminotransferase. For more information, see the topics Reference Bilirubin, Reference Alkaline Phosphatase, Reference Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT), and Reference Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST).
- Many states require that some types of hepatitis infections be reported to the local health department. The health department can then send out a warning to other people who may have been infected with the hepatitis virus, such as those who are close contacts of someone who has hepatitis C.
- A home test kit is available for hepatitis C (HCV). The kit contains a sharp instrument (lancet) that you use to draw a small sample of blood from your fingertip. The blood sample is then placed on a piece of collection paper and mailed in a prepaid envelope to a lab for testing. Results are available in 10 days. You are given an identification number to use when calling a toll-free number to obtain confidential results. If the results of the test are positive, it is important for you to make an appointment with your doctor to confirm the test results, determine the amount of damage to your liver, and determine whether antiviral therapy is an option.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 6, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology