A blood test will determine whether a person has developed the antibodies to hepatitis C. It can take up to 12 weeks for sufficient antibodies to be present and detectable in a blood test – this is known as the ‘window period’. A negative antibody test in this time may not be definitive. If a person is found to be antibody positive, another blood test is required to check for the presence of the actual virus. This is done because people who naturally clear the virus will still have the (harmless) antibodies, possibly for life.
Hepatitis B antibodies, produced by the immune system, may take six weeks to six months, from the time of initial infection, to be present in levels high enough to be detected.