You may prefer to find out on your own whether you have been infected
hepatitis C virus.
You can buy a home test called a Home Access Hepatitis C Check kit,
which you can find in most drugstores. The kit contains a sharp instrument
(lancet) that you use to draw a small amount of blood from your
You place the sample on a piece of collection paper and mail it in a
prepaid envelope to a lab for testing. After 10 days, you can call a toll-free
number and receive your results using your confidential identification
If the test shows you have hepatitis C, it is important to make an
appointment with your doctor to discuss the results. The home test only looks
for hepatitis C
antibodies, which indicate that you have been exposed
to the virus in the past. The test does not tell you if you currently have an
infection. Your doctor can order another test that looks for hepatitis C virus
RNA. This test can tell if you have an active
infection now. Additional testing can also determine how much liver damage you
have and help you decide whether you want to try antiviral medicines.
July 6, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
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