PCR tests are blood tests that look for the actual hep C virus. There are three types of PCR tests that provide special information.

The three types of PCR test

The first is the PCR viral detection test. It can tell whether someone has hep C. It is often used after needlestick accidents or for testing newborn babies, born to mums with hep C.

The second is the PCR viral load test. It measures the amount of hep C virus in your blood. This test is sometimes used before you have hep C treatment. It can tell how many weeks of treatment is best for you.

The third is the PCR genotype test. It shows what strain (type) of hep C you have. It is sometimes used before treatment to show which treatment option is best for you.

Did you know that people usually talk about hep C as if it were a single virus, but there are six different genotypes?

  • Around half of Australians with hep C have genotype 1.
  • Nearly 40% of Australians with hep C have genotype 3.
  • The remaining 10% of people have either genotype 2, 4, 5 or 6.

NB: PCR tests are sometimes called HCV RNA tests.

Also, click here to see our Hepatitis C Testing Chart >>

This page last updated 9 Jan 2018

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