How accurate is an antibody test for Hep C 16 weeks (4 months) post exposure? Some say 3 months and others say 6. The 6 month recommendation seems a bit outdated (kinda like how people say you need to test 6 months after an exposure to HIV) but I'm not sure. Any input?
The initial screening test for hepatitis C is a blood test which checks for antibodies. The human body produces antibodies in response to the virus.
The antibody test looks for these specific antibodies, not for the virus itself, to work out if you have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus. It may take up to three months for antibodies to appear in your blood following infection (although it is usually positive by 6 weeks). This is known as the ‘window period’. During this time antibody testing may not provide an accurate result.
A negative antibody test result usually means that a person has not been infected with the virus. However, the blood sample may have been taken in the window period before antibodies can be detected.
A positive antibody test result means antibodies were found, which is proof that the virus must have infected you at some point in time. About 25% of people who develop hepatitis C antibodies in response to infection get rid of (or clear) the virus within 6 months. If people are able to clear the virus, the antibodies remain in the blood for some time, possibly the rest of their life. This means a positive antibody test doesn’t necessarily mean someone has the virus.
A different test, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is used to see whether you have the virus in your blood.
One situation when the antibody test is not reliable is in a newborn baby.
Babies born to mothers infected with hepatitis C can have a positive antibody test without actually being infected. This positive ‘maternal antibody’ usually only lasts 12 –18 months, therefore, it is recommended that testing of children should not be done until after this time.
Hi, I wanted to message you but i couldn't. I received unprotected oral from a sex worker as well as kissing and fingering the vagina. I tested at the 14th week mark for Hep A,B,C antibodies and all came back negative. Am I in the clear?
Copyright 1994-2016 MedHelp International. All rights reserved.
MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.