Should I Get Tested for Hepatitis C?
Know the Score about HCV
It’s a good idea to get tested for hepatitis C if you:
- Currently inject drugs
- Have ever injected drugs in the past, even if it was just once or many years ago
- Have HIV or AIDS
- Have abnormal liver tests or liver disease
- Received donated blood or organs before 1992
- Have been exposed to blood on the job through a needlestick or injury with a sharp object
- Are getting long term hemodialysis
- Are concerned that you might have been exposed to hepatitis C through blood-to-blood contact
How can I find out if I have Hepatitis C?
There are two types of blood tests used to diagnose hepatitis C.
HCV Antibody Test: A positive result means at some point you contracted hepatitis C. This test is very accurate, but may not detect if you are still infected. If you have been treated previously for hepatitis c, this test will come up positive. To confirm your result, ask your doctor for a diagnostic test.
HCV RNA/Diagnostic Test: This confirms if you are currently living with hepatitis C by detecting the virus in your blood. These results are reported as undetectable or detectable. A detectable result means you have chronic (long-term) hepatitis C.
You can get tested for hepatitis C through any doctor. Antibody tests are also freely available at many health department clinics and certain syringe access programs.