There is no vaccine to prevent
infections with the hepatitis C virus.
antibodies can take weeks to develop, so your results
may be negative even though you are in the early stage of an infection (false-negative).
All donated blood and
organs are tested for hepatitis C before being used.
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.
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.
Smith BD, et al. (2012). Recommendations for the identification of chronic hepatitis C virus infection among persons born during 1945–1965. MMWR, 61(RR-4): 1–32. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6104a1.htm.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2013). Screening for Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Adults: Recommendation Statement. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspshepc.htm.
Other Works Consulted
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2003).
Guidelines for laboratory testing and result reporting of antibody to hepatitis
C virus. MMWR, 52(RR-03): 1–16. Available online:
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby.
Scott JD, Gretch DR (2007). Molecular diagnostics of
hepatitis C virus infection: A systematic review. JAMA,