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Viral Hepatitis

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Can test results be wrong?

for Veterans and the Public

Can test results be wrong?

Yes. But this is rare.

A "false-positive" test means your antibody test shows that you have been exposed to hepatitis C, when in fact you haven't been. For this reason, your doctor will perform other tests to double- or triple-check your results.

A "false-negative" test means your results suggest that you have not been exposed to hepatitis C, when in fact you have been. One reason someone could have a false-negative result is that they have been infected with hepatitis C recently and haven't developed enough antibodies for the test to detect them. Or sometimes people with other conditions, such as HIV, will have hepatitis C but their antibody test is falsely negative.