Blood Tests to Check for Hepatitis C

There are several blood tests that can be done to determine if you have been infected with HCV. Your doctor may order just one or a combination of these tests. The following are the types of tests your doctor may order and the purpose for each:

  1. Anti-HCV (antibody to HCV)
    EIA (enzyme immunoassay) or CIA (enhanced chemiluminescence immunoassay)
    Test is usually done first. If positive, it should be confirmed
    RIBA (recombinant immunoblot assay)
    A supplemental test used to confirm a positive EIA test
    Anti-HCV does not tell whether the infection is new (acute), chronic (long-term) or is no longer present.
  2. Qualitative tests to detect presence or absence of virus (HCV RNA)
  3. Quantitative tests to detect amount (titer) of virus (HCV RNA)
    A single positive PCR test indicates infection with HCV. A single negative test does not prove that a person is not infected. Virus may be present in the blood and just not found by PCR. Also, a person infected in the past who has recovered may have a negative test. When hepatitis C is suspected and PCR is negative, PCR should be repeated.