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What is the antibody test for hepatitis C?

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To fight an infection, such as the virus that causes hepatitis C, your body makes antibodies. So your doctor will draw your blood to check for those antibodies. But the antibody test isn’t perfect. You may have been infected with the virus, but your body hasn’t yet made enough antibodies to be detected. Your body can take up to 6 months to make enough antibodies to be picked up by the test. Your doctor may suggest that you return later for another test. Plus, the antibody test only reveals if you caught the virus at some point. But that doesn’t mean that you carry the virus now. To figure that out, your doctor likely will order a second blood test.

SOURCES:

CDC: “Guide to Comprehensive Hepatitis C Counseling and Testing,” Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for Health Professionals,” “Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for the Public.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Hepatitis C.”

UpToDate.com: “Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of acute hepatitis C virus infection in adults.”

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: “Getting Tested for Hepatitis C.” 

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on June 27, 2020

SOURCES:

CDC: “Guide to Comprehensive Hepatitis C Counseling and Testing,” Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for Health Professionals,” “Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for the Public.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Hepatitis C.”

UpToDate.com: “Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of acute hepatitis C virus infection in adults.”

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: “Getting Tested for Hepatitis C.” 

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on June 27, 2020

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