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Hepatitis C (IgG)

Screening for antibodies (IgG) against the virus is the front-line technique for detecting a past or current hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. For most individuals, the test remains positive throughout their life even after the disease has been cured, but a positive result does not mean the person is protected against a new infection. To diagnose active hepatitis C in an individual with a positive IgG result, an HCV RNA test must be completed. The presence of viral RNA indicates an active infection that requires treatment.

A negative result indicates either no infection or a test performed too soon after exposure to be accurate. For accurate HCV antibody testing, you must typically wait 6 to 12 weeks after infection (longer in immunosuppressed individuals). If the clinical suspicion remains high, the test has to be repeated at a later date. Slightly positive or indeterminate results must be confirmed by the Laboratoire de Santé publique du Québec (LSPQ).

Term of the Week

Predictive medicine

Medicine that links medical knowledge with data to predict a patient’s potential health problems. Examples include artificial intelligence and genetics.