How Do I Know If I Have Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C can be a silent disease. You may not have any symptoms or even know that you are sick. The only way to know if you have hepatitis C is to make an appointment to see your health care provider.
There are 2 different blood tests that help to determine if you have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus:
The antibody (AN-tee-bod-ee) test will show if the hepatitis C virus has ever been in your body.
- After you are exposed to the hepatitis C virus, it can take 3 to 12 weeks for antibodies to show up in your blood
- The antibody test is usually reported as negative or positive
- Once exposed, the antibodies will always be in your blood
Viral load test
A viral (VYE-rul) load test or HCV-RNA test will show if the hepatitis C virus is in your body and how much is in your body.
- After you are infected with the hepatitis C virus, it can take 1 to 2 weeks for the virus particles to show up in your blood
- Viral load is usually reported by the number of virus particles in the blood