for Health Care Providers
Steps for Diagnosis - Hepatitis C
An Outline of Recommended Testing for Screening and Diagnosis of Hepatitis C
Step 1: Testing for HCV Antibody
- A positive antibody result indicates that a patient has been infected with hepatitis C at some point.
- A negative antibody result indicates that the patient has never been infected with hepatitis C.
- A positive antibody result alone does not distinguish between an active or previous hepatitis C infection.
Step 2: Testing for HCV RNA
- VA laboratories run an automatic "reflex" HCV RNA test for all hepatitis C antibody positive tests.
- From a single blood draw, the patient had 2 specimens collected in 2 tubes; one for the HCV antibody test and, in case the antibody result was positive, a second for HCV RNA test.
- The clinician does not need to place an additional order and the patient does not need to return to the lab to have another blood draw.