Hepatitis C Virus Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Natural History

  • Author: Francesco Negro, MD (More Info)
  • Editors In Chief: Stefan Zeuzem, MD
  • Last Reviewed: 10/30/20 (What's New)


  • Testing for serum HCV RNA is essential for confirming ongoing HCV infection in individuals with a positive HCV antibody test and determining proper hepatitis C therapy according to the current AASLD/IDSA (Management Guidelines),[AASLD-IDSA HCV] EASL (Management Guidelines),[EASL HCVand CDC guidelines (Management Guidelines)[CDC Testing 2013]

    • The AASLD-IDSA guidelines also recommend HCV RNA testing or follow-up anti-HCV testing for patients with a negative HCV antibody test result if they are suspected of having liver disease and were exposed to HCV during the previous 6 months; HCV RNA testing may also be considered for individuals with negative HCV antibody test results if they are immunocompromised
    • To improve linkage to care and reduce the number of clinic visits and phlebotomies necessary to confirm an ongoing HCV infection, EASL guidelines recommend reflex testing—collecting sufficient sample (eg, 2 dried blood spots) that enables testing for HCV RNA after a positive finding for HCV antibody

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