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Diagnosis of Hepatitis C

Who Should Be Tested for Hepatitis C?

The CDC has recommended that all adults born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for Hepatitis C. Anyone who has ever used IV drugs should be tested, even if it was just one time many years ago. Anyone who received a blood transfusion before 1992 should be tested. Other risk factors include: a prior needle-stick injury, sexual contact with someone known to have Hepatitis C, HIV-infected individuals, dialysis patients, and children of mothers known to have Hepatitis C.

A simple blood test (Hepatitis C antibody) is the first step in testing for Hep C. If this is positive, your doctor will check another blood test called a Hepatitis C PCR to measure the amount of virus in your blood. Once the diagnosis is made, another blood test can determine the form (genotype) of Hepatitis C that you have (genotypes 1,2,3,4). Your doctor will also want to know how much damage (scarring) has occurred in your liver. There are several ways to do this including a liver biopsy. A non-invasive alternative to biopsy is a Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) exam or transient elastography ultrasound, both used to test for scarring and hardness in the liver.

Your Granite Peaks gastroenterology specialist will determine the testing that best suits your needs to ensure an accurate diagnosis.