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HCV testing
Feb 3, 2010

Dear Dr. McGovern,

I want to start off by mentioning that you provide an amazing service and I appreciate your thoughtful and informative responses.

I have a quick question. I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and was wondering if you could provide me with an approximate cost for a HCV RNA PCR test ( I am interested for early detection in the acute phase as i've learned that antibodies may not be detectable until 6 months using antibody tests).

I have been doing some research on my end and have been unsuccessful so far. Any input from you would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance!!

Response from Dr. McGovern

I am so happy you like the site.

There are a couple of things I would recommend to you regarding possible acute HCV infection: 1. Antibodies usually become positive by 8 to 12 weeks; the 24 week time frame is for the outliers; the vast majority seroconvert much earlier.

2. The vast majority of patients with acute infection develop abnormal liver function tests right after virus levels begin to rise. LFTs are relatively cheap.

3. The cost of HCV RNA tests will depend on the laboratory that processes yours and the type of test that is selected - quantitative or qualitative...There are multiple types of tests with different manufacturers of the kits...I think it would be safe to say that it would probably be in the $200 range...

4. If money is a major issue, I would suggest LFTs at 6 to 8 weeks followed by HCV antibody at 12 weeks...If positive, you will have to see an expert about possible treatment. However, many patients clear acute infection.

Hope this is helpful.



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