Tests for hepatitis A
Blood tests for hepatitis A look for antibodies against the virus (antibody test). And for small amounts of the genetic instructions from the virus (PCR test).
You can find out more about these tests in the drop-down boxes below.
This test will look for antibodies against hepatitis A in your blood. When a new virus gets into your body, your immune system starts to try and fight it off. One of the things it does is make antibodies that can stick to the virus and help your body to clear it.
It can take a few days for the antibodies to be made. So if you have an antibody test straight after picking up the virus there might not be enough antibodies for the test to work.
After you have got rid of the hepatitis A virus, you will carry on having antibodies in your blood. But they will be a different type. The antibody test does not look for this type of antibody. So the antibody test will only be positive if you have the virus at the time of the test.
A PCR test can look for tiny amounts of the virus’s RNA. This is the genetic instructions that the virus uses to make copies of itself. You will only have the virus RNA in your blood if you currently have the virus.