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Hepatitis C Testing

What does hepatitis C testing involve?

There is no swabbing or undressing during our hepatitis C blood test. When you visit one of our test centers, a skilled lab tech will draw a small sample of blood, then you can be on your way minutes later. The test sample will be tested for hepatitis C via the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) test. The EIA searches for antibodies that are developed by the body to combat the infection. Our doctors recommend testing for hepatitis C 8-9 weeks after initial exposure to give the body time to develop enough detectable antibodies.

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Hepatitis C is a liver infection that is symptomless 80% of the time. When it does present symptoms, they can mimic the flu. About 3.2 million people in the US have Hepatitis C and 3 out of 4 who are infected don’t even know they have it.

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How to read hepatitis C test result from STDcheck.com

Our FDA-approved hepatitis C blood test searches for antibodies in the blood. When antibodies are detected, our test will return a positive result. A positive result indicates that you do have hepatitis C. A negative result means that no antibodies were found in your blood, meaning no hepatitis C was found in your blood.

Who should get tested for hepatitis C?

It is important to get tested for hepatitis C if any of the following applies to you:

  • You were born between 1945 and 1965
  • You use or have used intravenous drugs or snorted drugs in the past; it only takes one instance of using unsterile drug equipment like needles, syringes or snorting straws
  • You were treated for blood clots before 1987
  • You were a recipient of blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
  • You are a long-term hemodialysis patient
  • Your previous liver tests have been abnormal
  • If you have or have had liver disease
  • You work in the healthcare industry or public safety and have been exposed to blood, needles sticks or other sharp object injuries
  • You are HIV-positive

Should I get tested for hepatitis C if I am pregnant?

Whether or not women receive testing for hepatitis C typically depends on whether or not she is or has been an intravenous drug user, as HCV testing is not part of routine prenatal care. However, for women who are pregnant and HIV- positive, it is important to get tested as HIV breaks down the body's immune system, making it easier to contract other illnesses including sexually transmitted diseases.

  1. "Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for Health Professionals | CDC." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/hcvfaq.htm
  2. "HCV Guidance: Recommendations for Testing, Managing, and Treating Hepatitis C." Recommendations for Testing, Managing, and Treating Hepatitis C | HCV Guidance. https://www.hcvguidelines.org/
  3. "Hepatitis C and Baby Boomers (1945-1965) | CDC." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis/learnmore.htm
  4. "Hepatitis A, B, and C: Learn the Differences." Immunization Action Coalition. http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4075.pdf

Medically Reviewed by on Jun 18, 2019

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