Free and confidential home tests for hepatitis C available via the NHS
Anyone who is over the age of 18 and lives in England, can order the free and confidential home test via the NHS website. The test involves a finger prick with a tiny blood sample dropped into a test tube, which is posted to a lab for analysis. Those who receive a positive test result will then be contacted and referred for treatment.
This scheme is part of NHS England’s dedicated Hepatitis C Elimination Programme. It is being supported by the Hepatitis C West London Operational Delivery Network, which is hosted by Imperial College Healthcare.
Hepatitis C is a is a virus that can infect the liver. As Hepatitis C often does not have noticeable symptoms until the live has been significantly damaged, many people in England may have it without knowing. If left untreated, Hepatitis C can sometimes cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver over many years. But with modern treatments, it's usually possible to cure the infection, and most people with it will have a normal life expectancy.
Risk factors for hepatitis C include previous or current injecting drug use, being in the criminal justice system and being born, or have lived, in a country where the bloodborne disease is endemic. This includes countries in South Asia such as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh and where people can come into contact with infected blood through medical procedures, blood transfusions and blood products, or equipment used in cosmetic services. For this reason the web portal will be available in both Urdu and English.
Sharing toothbrushes, getting tattoos abroad, having unprotected sexual intercourse and injecting drugs are just some of the ways people can contract hepatitis C.
The kits aim to reach people who may not be engaged with other services such as drug and alcohol support, prison and probation services, as well as people who may have potentially been exposed to virus in the past, or who do not feel able to approach their GP.
Order a free and confidential home testing kit today, via the NHS website or this West London QR code: