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Hepatitis C Virus Tests: About These Tests

Location of the liver in the body

What are they?

Hepatitis C virus tests are blood tests that check for substances in the blood that show whether you have hepatitis C now or had it in the past. The tests can also tell you what type of hepatitis C you have and how severe the disease is. This can help your doctor with treatment.

If the tests show that you have long-term hepatitis C, you need to take steps to prevent spreading the disease.

Why are these tests done?

You may need these tests if:

  • You have symptoms of hepatitis.
  • You may have been exposed to the virus. You are more likely to have been exposed to the virus if you inject drugs or are exposed to body fluids (such as if you are a health care worker).
  • You've had other tests that show you have liver problems.
  • You have an HIV infection.

The tests also are done to help your doctor decide about your treatment and see how well it works.

How do you prepare for the test?

In general, there's nothing you have to do before this test, unless your doctor tells you to.

How is the test done?

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

What happens after these tests?

  • You will probably be able to go home right away.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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