PCR and Viral Load Tests?

Qualitative PCR Test - Do I still have the virus?

If an antibody test is positive, the next test is to check if the virus is still in your body using a 'qualitative' PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. The PCR test determines whether you are currently infected by detecting active hepatitis C virus replication in the blood.

A positive PCR test means the virus has been detected in your body so your immune system was not able to get rid of the virus by itself during the acute stage. You now have a chronic Hepatitis C infection.

Viral load/Quantitative PCR test - How much virus ?

A quantitative PCR test (also called a Viral Load Test or Hepatitis C RNA test) is used to measure the amount of virus in your blood. This is undertaken at the beginning of treatment to find out how much virus you have in your body.

The number of viruses in a tiny measurement of your blood is counted and recorded.

This Viral Load test is then repeated at intervals throughout your treatment, so doctors can check how well you are responding.

See also

Mainliners:  Hep C Testing

Hepatitis C Trust: Understanding Tests

Hepatitis C Scotland


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