for Veterans and the Public
Hepatitis C antibody (HCV Ab, anti-HCV)
This is the first test for determining whether you have been infected with hepatitis C. The results will come back as either positive or negative.
Explanation of test results:
If this test result is positive, it means your body was exposed to the hepatitis C virus and made antibodies (for more information, see "Antibody" section under Associated Lab Tests). However, it does not tell you whether you are still infected with hepatitis C. If the antibody test result is positive, you should be tested for hepatitis C RNA (see "Hepatitis C RNA"), which determines whether you are chronically infected. The lab might perform this RNA test automatically if your hepatitis C antibody test is positive or your doctor might need to order the Hepatitis C RNA test separately.
If the antibody test result is negative, it means you have not been infected with the hepatitis C virus, and further testing for hepatitis C usually is not needed.
Other things to know:
- After a successful course of treatment for hepatitis C, the hepatitis C antibody remains detectable, but the hepatitis C RNA will be undetectable.
- Any patient with a positive test result for the hepatitis C antibody should have additional tests to determine whether or not the virus is still active.