Get a free, home self-test kit for hepatitis C

18th December 2023

The NHS has rolled out hepatitis C tests for people at risk of hepatitis C. If you are eligible, you will be able to confidentially order kits to self-test at home.

The free, discreet, at-home kit is available from the NHS website now. This is part of NHS England’s Hepatitis C Elimination Programme. Deaths from hepatitis c have already been reduced three-fold, by 35% from the program. This well exceeds the World Health Organization’s 10% target.

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a virus which affects your liver. You may not know you have it but if left untreated, it can damage your liver and can lead to life-threatening conditions such as liver cancer. This is why testing is crucial.

 

Who is at risk from hepatitis C?

Risk factors for hepatitis C include:

  • Previous or current drug use via injection
  • Being in the criminal justice system
  • Being born, or having lived, in a country where hepatitis C is endemic (always expected to have a presence)

This includes countries in South Asia such as:

  • Pakistan
  • India
  • Bangladesh
  • Where people can come into contact with infected blood through methods such as medical procedures, blood transfusions and products or equipment used within cosmetic services

Who are the self-testing kits for?

Who are the self-testing kits for?

The kits aim to reach those who may not be already engaged with other services such as drug and alcohol support or people who may have been potentially exposed to hepatitis C in the past. Other people the kits aim to reach are those who are not engaged with other services such as prison and probation services or who do not feel they can approach their GP.

Can hepatitis C be cured?

Usually, hepatitis C is treated with a free course of prescribed tablets. Most people find that after taking the tablets for 8 to 12 weeks, they are cured. Thankfully, modern treatment is easy to take and usually has little side effects.

What does the self-test involve?

The test requires a tiny blood sample, which is retrieved from a finger prick. The blood sample is then dropped into a test tube and posted to a lab to be analysed. If you receive a positive test result, you will be contacted and referred for treatment.

Order your self-test kit here

If you found this information useful, please consider donating to Guts UK. With new knowledge, we will end the pain and suffering for the millions affected by digestive diseases.

Together, we will get to grips with guts.

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