DOCTOR'S VIEWS ARCHIVE
Topic: Hepatitis C, June 2000
If Hepatitis C is typically silent, meaning it doesn't produce much in terms of symptoms, how is the diagnosis usually made in the population?
Dr. Edward Block:
Most people infected with Hepatitis C are asymptomatic (not aware that they have hepatitis). They may be found years later to have mildly elevated liver tests on routine blood screening. These liver tests are called SGOT (ALT) and SGPT (AST).
Hepatitis C RNA (HCV RNA) blood test actually measures the virus. A positive HCV RNA test indicates active infection.
Some of our hepatitis C patients come to us via blood banks. During the process of screening blood donors some tested positive for hepatitis C.
People applying for life insurance and disability policies will often also be tested for hepatitis C, and we find a fair number of newly diagnosed patients being referred in this manner as well.
Please refer to the Hepatitis C article for more details.
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