Finding out that you’ve tested positive for hepatitis C antibodies can be overwhelming. But with that news comes the responsibility to take action.

Just because doctors find hep C antibodies doesn’t mean that you’ve contracted hepatitis C virus. You’ll need an additional blood test to confirm whether you have hepatitis C RNA, or genetic material, in your blood for that determination. The results can be negative (the virus is undetectable) or positive (the virus is detectable).

At this point, you have an opportunity to learn more about the virus to plan for your future.

If treated carefully, hepatitis C is not a death sentence. For many, the virus is curable with medication. In addition, for those living with chronic hepatitis C, smart lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol intake, eating well and getting proper medical care, can lead to a long and healthy life.