Testing in your region
Hepatitis C Tests in Nunavut
Each province and territory has slight variations in the way they do testing for hepatitis C. For general information on the types of tests used in the diagnosis and monitoring of Hep C, see Types of Tests webpage. On this page you will find information on the specific tests used in Nunavut.
In Nunavut, physicians and nurses rely on several tests to diagnose hepatitis C. Testing is available at family physician offices and some community health centres and nursing stations. Depending on location, Hep C testing may or may not be available, so people can call ahead or visit their health care centre to inquire.
Most Hep C tests in Nunavut are sent to the Provincial Laboratory of Public Health (ProvLab) in Alberta, therefore the testing information below is based on the tests used at this lab.
Hep C Antibody Tests
Hep C RNA Test (Qualitative)
Hep C RNA Test (Quantitative)
Why this test?
Used to detect Hep C antibodies in the blood
If antibodies are present, RNA testing is necessary to verify the diagnosis
Used when someone has tested positive (reactive) for Hep C antibodies
Detects genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the blood
Used to measure the viral load, or concentration of circulating virus in the blood
Assists with treatment decisions and monitoring treatment response
Some people show antibodies as early as 10 weeks post-exposure
RNA Qualitative testing may be recommended at 6-8 weeks post-exposure
RNA Quantitative testing may be used if someone tests positive on the Qualitative test
Lower Limit of Detection (IU/mL)
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Results are Positive, Negative or Indeterminate*
Results are either Detectable or Undetectable**
Viral load reveals the concentration or amount of Hep C in the blood and is measured in IU/mL (international units/mL)
Abbot AxSym HCV test 3.0
COBAS AmpliPrep/COBAS AMPLICOR HCV test
COBAS AmpliPrep/COBAS TaqMan HCV test
*Positive: Results are >1.00 and therefore Hep C antibodies are present. The individual has been exposed to the virus in his or her lifetime.
The individual may either:
a) have an active virus OR
b) have cleared the virus and does not have Hep C. Someone who has been exposed to Hep C will always have antibodies, even if they have cleared the virus. An additional RNA test is needed for accurate diagnosis.
Negative: Results range from 0.00–1.00 and therefore there are no antibodies present. If the individual has tested after the 6-month window period, they do not have Hep C.
If testing has taken place before the 6-month window period, an additional antibody test is recommended once the window period has passed to verify negative results. If someone is symptomatic, has HIV/AIDS or is otherwise immuno-compromised, doctors may recommend an RNA test to verify negative results.
Indeterminate: The results are not clear. HCV RNA qualitative testing is recommended
**Detectable: At least 20 IU/mL of virus is present in a person’s blood, which indicates a positive Hep C diagnosis
Undetectable: Less than 20 IU/mL of virus is present in a person’s blood, which indicates a negative Hep C diagnosis
Additional tests, including blood tests, ultrasounds and biopsies may be used to learn more about how Hep C is affecting a person’s liver. Blood tests may be used to analyze how a person is responding to treatment, while an ultrasound or biopsy may be used to examine the extent of liver damage. See Types of Tests webpage for more information on these additional tests.
Genotype testing is used by physicians to determine what type of treatment may be available to people living with Hep C. The University of Alberta’s Medical Microbiology Laboratory uses a blood test called Trugene HCV 5 NC to identify a person’s Hep C genotype.