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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:

Antibody test

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
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