If you are at risk for hepatitis C, ask your doctor about getting tested. The only way to know if you have hepatitis C is to get tested.

There are two tests to tell whether you have hepatitis C:

Antibody test

The antibody test is a blood test that checks for hepatitis C antibodies in your blood. Antibodies are made by the body to fight off an infections.

If the test shows you have hepatitis C antibodies in your blood, this means you were infected with hepatitis C at some point in your life, but does not always mean the virus is still active in your body.

You can have a negative or a positive result for the antibodies test.

  • Negative (Non-Reactive)
    • If you test negative for hepatitis C antibodies, this probably means you do not have hepatitis C.
    • If you test negative for hepatitis C antibodies but were directly exposed to blood infected with hepatitis C in the last 6 months, you will need to be tested again.
  • Positive (Reactive)
    • If you test positive for hepatitis C antibodies, this means you have been infected with hepatitis C at some point in your life.
    • You may have acute or chronic hepatitis C.
    • You may not have hepatitis C at all. You can still test positive for hepatitis C antibodies, but not have an active case of hepatitis C.  In certain cases your body can completely clear the virus on its own.
    • You will need a second test called a RNA or viral load test to see whether hepatitis C is active in your body.

RNA or viral load test

If you test positively for hepatitis C antibodies, you will need to get a RNA or viral load test. The RNA test is a blood test that checks to see if hepatitis C is active in your body.

  • Negative
    • If your RNA test result is negative, you do not have hepatitis C.
  • Positive
    • If your RNA test result is positive, you may have chronic hepatitis C. Talk to your doctor right away about a treatment plan.