Interpretation of Results of Tests for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection and Further Actions

Test Outcome Interpretation Further actions
Interpretation and Further Actions
HCV antibody nonreactive No HCV antibody detected Sample can be reported as nonreactive for HCV antibody. No further action required.

If recent exposure in person tested is suspected, test for HCV RNA.*

HCV antibody reactive Presumptive HCV infection A repeatedly reactive result is consistent with current HCV infection, or past HCV infection that has resolved, or biologic false positivity for HCV antibody. Test for HCV RNA to identify current infection.
HCV antibody reactive, HCV RNA detected Current HCV infection Provide person tested with appropriate counseling and link person tested to care and treatment.†
HCV antibody reactive, HCV RNA not detected No current HCV infection No further action required in most cases.

If distinction between true positivity and biologic false positivity for HCV antibody is desired, and if sample is repeatedly reactive in the initial test, test with another HCV antibody assay.

In certain situations,§ follow up with HCV RNA testing and appropriate counseling.

* If HCV RNA testing is not feasible and person tested is not immunocompromised, do follow-up testing for HCV antibody to demonstrate seroconversion. If the person tested is immunocompromised, consider testing for HCV RNA.
† It is recommended before initiating antiviral therapy to retest for HCV RNA in a subsequent blood sample to confirm HCV RNA positivity.
§ If the person tested is suspected of having HCV exposure within the past 6 months, or has clinical evidence of HCV disease, or if there is concern regarding the handling or storage of the test specimen.

Source: CDC. Testing for HCV infection: An update of guidance for clinicians and laboratorians. MMWR 2013;62(18).