Hep-C Testing

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne disease that causes inflammation of the liver. Many New Zealanders have hepatitis C and don't know it.

Hepatitis C can remain asymptomatic (show no symptoms) for decades. If diagnosed early, a person is able to make lifestyle changes that may help delay the onset of serious complications or undertake treatment to cure the disease.

How is hepatitis C diagnosed?

The only way to know if you have ever had hepatitis C is to get a blood test, called a hepatitis C antibody test. This test looks for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus. If you get infected, antibodies are released into your bloodstream. Antibodies stay in your bloodstream, even if you get rid of the virus.

  • A positive or reactive hepatitis C antibody test means you have been infected with the hepatitis C virus at some time.
  • A positive antibody test does not always mean you still have hepatitis C.
  • Another blood test called an RNA test or PCR is needed to determine if you are currently infected with hepatitis C.

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