- We advise you – after you have been cured - to test for hepatitis C every 3 months.
- If you have had hepatitis C before, do not take an antibody test. The best test for you would be an RNA test. Another option is the liver value check.
- Tell the nurse or doctor that’s going to test you that you have had hepatitis C before.
Antibody tests are not suitable if you have had hepatitis C before. After you’ve been cured of hepatitis C, the antibodies that your body has produced will often remain in the body for the rest of your life. An antibody test would therefore be pointless.
Once you’ve been cured of hepatitis C, only an RNA test will tell you if you’ve been infected again.
Doing liver value checks is also an option. The only problem with this is that it records just one moment in your liver values. Liver values can fluctuate over time. It is therefore possible to miss the peak in your ALAT liver enzyme; the peak may have passed by the time you take the test. Or, the peak may occur after you take the test.
About 25-30% of men who have been cured of hepatitis C, get the virus again within two years. That’s why we advise you to test every three months from now on.
You could decide to have your liver values checked twice a year and take an RNA test twice a year as well.
Always tell the STI nurse, HIV nurse or GP that you have had hepatitis C before. This will ensure that they perform an RNA test on you. The fact that you have had it before may not always be noted in your medical records.
More information? Read Testing for hepatitis C.