Hepatitis C antibodies are used by health care providers to detect and diagnosis hepatitis C viral infection in serologic screening tests, according to Mayo Medical Laboratories. When the result of this test is reactive, this means that hepatitis C antibodies were present and the person has been exposed to HCV.
Antibodies are small proteins called immunoglobins that are produced by the body's immune system to help protect against infection, explains Patient.info. When a harmful substance, such as a virus, is detected, unique antibodies are produced and circulate in the blood stream.
Serologic tests for HCV screen for the presence of specific antibodies related to this virus, which indicates that a person has been infected with HCV in the past or is currently infected, reports Mayo Medical Laboratories.