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Hepatitis C is an infection that affects the liver. The hepatitis C virus (HCV), which causes the infection, is usually transmitted by coming into contact with blood that’s positive for the virus.

Screening for hepatitis C is important because the virus can cause liver damage even if there aren’t any outward signs. It can also lead to liver scarring and liver cancer. And it’s possible to pass it to someone else without knowing you have the disease.

If you suspect you’ve contracted HCV, the best thing to do is see a doctor in person. If you can’t get to a doctor, at-home tests can be helpful, but you should still talk with a doctor about your results. Some online services will put you in touch with a healthcare professional to help you go over your results. Otherwise, you can make an appointment with your preferred doctor or at a local clinic.

Below, we provide more details about:

  • hepatitis C screening
  • why you might want to get tested
  • our best at-home test picks
  • how to interpret test results

Testing for hepatitis C involves a blood test called an HCV antibody test (or anti-HCV test). This test determines if you’ve ever had a hepatitis C infection by checking your blood for HCV-specific antibodies.

You’ll need to undergo follow-up testing if you test positive for HCV antibodies. Having antibodies does not mean you currently have an active infection. It may simply mean that you have had a prior exposure that your immune system cleared.

A doctor will order an HCV RNA test to check whether you have an active infection. A positive result means the virus is currently active in your bloodstream. If you get a negative result, the virus was once in your body, but it’s not anymore.

We reviewed each brand’s business and medical practices, checking:

  • their BBB rating, if they have one
  • whether they’ve been involved in any lawsuits
  • whether they provide help interpreting your results
  • whether they make any unacceptable health claims

All companies on the list also state they use accredited labs to process their testing kits.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$100
  • $$$ = over $100

Best overall at-home hepatitis C test

Everlywell Hepatitis C Test

  • Price: $$
  • Test type: finger-prick blood test
  • Results time: 5 to 7 business days
  • Pros: affordable, includes follow-up with a medical professional
  • Cons: none specific to this test. Not everyone will be comfortable pricking themselves, though.

This kit from Everlywell tests for HCV antibodies to see if you’ve ever had a hepatitis C infection. Testing involves taking a finger-prick blood sample. The test should be safe and accurate, as long as you follow the directions. However, just because you test positive for HCV antibodies does not mean you have an active infection.

The test ships free and includes prepaid return shipping. The testing kit includes everything you need to take a finger-prick blood sample, including:

  • gauze
  • an alcohol pad
  • a bandage
  • a lancet
  • a collection card

When you’re done collecting the sample, you’ll put it into the biohazard bag and send it back for testing using the prepaid return label. You should receive results within a few days. If you test positive, a physician will get in touch to discuss your results and next steps.

Reviewers say the test is quick and efficient, and that results are well explained. Most of them say that they would use the service again.

You can pay for the test using a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA). Your insurance company might cover this testing type, but it depends entirely on your provider.

Read our full review of Everywell here.

Best at-home hepatitis B and C test

Let’sGetChecked Hepatitis B and C Test

  • Price: $$
  • Test type: finger-prick blood test
  • Results time: 2 to 5 business days
  • Pros: tests for both hepatitis B and C, includes option to speak with a nurse if you test positive
  • Cons: no option to test for hepatitis C only

If you want to buy a hepatitis C test from Let’sGetChecked, you have to buy the hepatitis B and C testing bundle.

The hepatitis B surface antigen test (HBsAg) checks for hepatitis B-specific antigens and antibodies in the blood to determine if you have an active infection. A positive test means you can transmit the virus, but it cannot tell you if you have a chronic or acute infection.

A negative test will only tell you that you will not currently transmit the virus. You can test negative and still have hepatitis B. Let’sGetChecked does not include this info on the product page. It may still be important to visit a doctor to determine if you have the virus and what stage it’s in.

Testing for hepatitis C involves an HCV antibody test. You’ll need additional testing if you test positive for HCV antibodies.

Tests from Let’sGetChecked should be safe and accurate when used as directed. Still, you should talk with your doctor about your results.

Both the hepatitis B and C tests involve taking a finger-prick sample. You can take the sample in the morning and send it back the same day.

Results should arrive within 2 to 5 business days. If either test returns a positive result, a nurse will get in touch to go over what this means. However, we recommend also going over your results with your doctor.

Let’sGetChecked has a 4.6 average on TrustPilot. Reviewers appreciate the quick and easy testing process. However, some customers complain about shipping issues and results taking longer than expected.

Read our full review of Let’sGetChecked here.

Best at-home hepatitis C and STI test

Nurx Full Control Home STI Test Kit

  • Price: $$$
  • Test type: urine, throat swab, rectal swab, and finger-prick test
  • Results time: 5 to 7 business days
  • Pros: includes comprehensive STI testing
  • Cons: not available in all states, some customer service complaints

This test kit includes tests for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and hepatitis C. The collection method varies by test, so you’ll have to do a urine sample, throat swab, rectal swab, and finger-prick sample.

You’ll pay a $15 consultation fee. For the consultation, a healthcare professional reviews your information and orders the tests. The fee gives you access to a Nurx medical professional for 1 year, allowing you to ask questions about the test or your results.

The kit is shipped to you within about 3 to 5 business days. The company takes insurance, but it’s best to check with your provider before assuming they will cover testing.

There are no customer reviews specifically for the hepatitis and STI testing kit, but overall, reviews on the website are largely positive. People say they love the convenient service. Negative reviews complain mostly about poor communication.

Reviews about Nurx on other sites are mixed, and the company has a lousy BBB review rating with only 2 out of 5 stars. Most of the complaints have to do with poor customer service.

Read our full review of Nurx here.

Best at-home hepatitis C test with fast results

myLAB Box Hepatitis C Test

  • Price: $$
  • Test type: finger-prick test
  • Results time: 2 to 5 business days
  • Pros: includes phone consultation with a healthcare professional if you get a positive test result
  • Cons: some customers say the company is unreliable

The myLAB Box Hepatitis C Test checks for HCV antibodies in the blood. If you test positive, you’ll need to get a nucleic acid test to check if you have an active infection. The company urges customers to bring their results to their doctor for follow-up and treatment.

The 5-minute test requires a finger-prick blood sample. You’ll send back the kit and get your results within 2 to 5 business days. A free consultation with a physician is available if you test positive, but the company recommends going over your results with a doctor.

You can use an FSA or HSA account to pay for the test or pay out of pocket.

There are only two reviews for the hepatitis C kit, both overwhelmingly positive. On TrustPilot, myLAB Box has an average rating of 3.5. Many people are happy with their purchase and say the process is easy and convenient. However, some reviewers complain that the company is unresponsive and unreliable.

Best at-home hepatitis C test with fast shipping

iDNA Hepatitis C Test

  • Price: $$
  • Test type: finger-prick test
  • Results time: 2 to 7 business days
  • Pros: includes free retest if your results are positive
  • Cons: no follow-up if you test positive, shipping is not free

The iDNA testing kit comes with easy-to-follow directions and everything you need to take samples at home. The test requires a finger-prick sample to check for HCV antibodies.

If you test positive, the company offers a free re-test. However, they do not provide any consultation with a healthcare professional. Instead, they recommend you see your doctor to go over your results and talk about treatment options.

You’ll have to pay for return shipping. Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you can choose between first class, business, and overnight shipping.

You can check your test result through the iDNA app or receive them via email. iDNA does not take health insurance, but you may be able to submit a claim to your provider.

Reviews for iDNA are generally positive. The company has a 4.2 average rating on TrustPilot, where people say they appreciate the convenient, fast results. Still, some reviewers complain that getting results takes forever.

ProductPriceProsConsTakes insurance?
Everlywell$$includes access to a medical professionalonly screens for hepatitis CHSA-eligible but depends on provider
Let’s Get Checked$$tests for hepatitis B and Cno option for a hepatitis C-only testdoes not take insurance but is FSA- and HSA-eligible
Nurx$$$includes testing for STIsconsultation with a medical professional will cost extra and is limiteddepends on provider
myLAB Box$$includes phone consult with a medical professional if you test positivesome reviewers claim the company is unresponsiveHSA- and FSA-eligible
iDNA$$includes free re-test if you receive a positive resultno consultation available, no free shippingno

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following people should be tested for hepatitis C:

  • all adults
  • pregnant people
  • people with risk factors

You may be at higher risk for hepatitis C if you:

  • use illicit injectable drugs
  • received clotting factor produced before 1987
  • received a blood transfusion or had an organ transplant before July 1992
  • receive blood from someone who later tested positive for HCV
  • had long-term hemodialysis as a child
  • have consistently high levels of abnormal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in your blood
  • were birthed by someone who was HCV positive
  • have HIV
  • have ever had a needle-stick injury or potentially been exposed to HCV-positive blood (this is more likely if you work in a healthcare setting)
  • have had a tattoo or piercing done outside of a professional sterile environment

According to the CDC, HCV may be passed through sexual activity, though this is not common. The agency notes that your risk may be increased if you:

  • have a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • have sex with multiple partners
  • have anal sex

The various brands of at-home hepatitis tests work similarly and all require a small blood sample, usually from a finger prick.

It’s a straightforward procedure. Firstly, you’ll need to prick the side of your finger with the supplied sterile lancet. Then, you’ll collect the drop of blood on a test strip and return it to the lab. The lab analyses your blood sample to look for the presence of antibodies and the results appear online, either in an app or portal, in around 2 to 7 days.

Ideally, you should talk with a doctor about hepatitis C screening. They’ll ask you about any potential exposures or risk factors and will probably order a blood test to check for HCV antibodies. You can get your blood tested anywhere that does routine blood work.

It’s the same procedure as getting a routine blood test.

Here’s how to interpret at-home hepatitis C test results:

  • If you test negative (HCV antibody nonreactive) for the HCV antibody test, you do not need to do any more testing — unless you suspect a recent exposure. If so, you should consider an NAT.
  • If you test positive (HCV antibody reactive) for the HCV antibody test, you have had exposure to the hepatitis C virus. To find out if you have an active infection, you’ll need to get an HCV test.

You’ll need to see a doctor to ask about getting an NAT or RNA test. You cannot order these types of tests online.

  • A positive NAT means you have a current HCV infection and is useful if you’ve been exposed very recently and your body may not have developed antibodies. Your doctor will recommend a treatment plan.
  • A negative NAT means you do not have a current HCV infection.
  • A positive RNA means you have an active HCV infection and need treatment.
  • A negative RNA but positive antibodies mean you have been exposed to HCV but do not have an active infection.

Even if you opt for at-home testing, it’s always a good idea to see your doctor once you get back your results. They can help you interpret them. You can also ask follow-up questions and get information about your health.

There’s no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, so the best way to prevent an infection is to avoid contact with blood containing the virus.

You can help protect yourself against HCV by:

  • never sharing drug needles or personal items like toothbrushes or razors
  • wearing gloves if you touch blood or open wounds
  • ensuring any tattoos or piercings are done with sterile needles in a clean environment
  • practicing safe sex with barrier contraception such as using a latex or polyurethane condom

If you think you may have been exposed to HCV, see a doctor as soon as possible to get tested or consider at-home testing.

If you chose at-home testing, be aware that antibodies can take up to 6 months to appear. So if your at-home test is negative but you have a positive exposure, it’s best to see a healthcare professional for more sensitive testing.

What is a hepatitis C test?

A hepatitis C test checks for HCV antibodies in your blood. If you test positive, that may mean you have an active infection or a previous one. Another test, called HCV RNA, is required to verify whether the infection is active.

How is a hepatitis C test done?

Testing for hepatitis C involves taking a blood sample. Most at-home tests require a finger prick.

What are the symptoms of hepatitis C?

Symptoms depend on how long you’ve had the infection. Many people with a newly contracted HCV infection do not have any symptoms. Those who develop symptoms may have:

People with a long-term infection (also known as chronic hepatitis C) may experience depression and fatigue. Eventual complications include liver disease and cancer.

What are the treatments for hepatitis C?

Treatment involves taking antiviral medication for up to 24 weeks. In most cases, this can cure an HCV infection.

Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.