Hepatitis C

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MUMS clinicians tests for Hepatitis C.

  • Hepatitis C early detection blood test is for the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) RNA. This costs £49.00
  • Hepatitis C antibody test costs £85.00

You can choose to have Hepatitis C testing at MUMS with the Health Care Assistant, which costs £25.00, or our Sexual Health Consultant which costs £85.00, or our GPs which costs £95.00. If you choose to have your test with one of our Health Care Assistant's, then you will need a consultation with the GP or Sexual Health Consultant to have the results explained to you. The cost of a remote telecon to discuss results is £35.00

Hepatitis C is also included in our combined STI multiple tests.

What is it?

Hepatitis C is an infection with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). The Health Protection Authority (HPA) estimates nearly 250,000 people in the UK have been infected with Hepatitis C, but most do not know they have it because they have no symptoms. About 75% of these people go on to develop chronic Hepatitis.

It can take years, even decades, for symptoms to appear, many people (possibly 100,000 or more in the UK) remain unaware they have a problem. By the time they become ill and seek help, considerable damage has been done to the liver. This might have been prevented if the person had been tested and diagnosed earlier.

How do you get it?

The Hepatitis C virus is usually transmitted through blood-to-blood contact. Hepatitis C can be passed on through vaginal, oral and anal sex. Another common route is through sharing needles when injecting recreational drugs. Similarly, Hepatitis C can be caught by having a tattoo or body piercing with equipment that has not been properly sterilised. Hepatitis C can also be passed on through sharing toothbrushes and razors. Hepatitis C can be caught from medical treatment in developing countries, and from mother to baby during pregnancy and/ or birth.

Hepatitis C cannot be spread by toilet seats, door knobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bath tubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils.

Symptoms

There are often no symptoms for Hepatitis C.  When symptoms do occur, they can include feeling tired, aching limbs, digestive problems and brain fog.

About 20-30% of people with Hepatitis C will clear the virus from their bodies - but in about 70-80% of cases, the infection lasts for more than six months (chronic Hepatitis C). In these cases, the immune system has been unable to clear the virus and will remain in the body long term unless medical treatment is given. Most of these people only have a mild form of the disease,  with intermittent symptoms of fatigue or no symptoms at all. However, there may be damage to the liver.  About one in five people with chronic Hepatitis C develops cirrhosis of the liver within 20 years.

How to test and samples

MUMS offers three types of Hepatitis C test:

  • Hepatitis C early detection blood test is for the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) RNA. - £49.00
  • Hepatitis C antibody test - £85.00
  • Instant Hepatitis C test - £95.00

Incubation, results and re-test

The incubation period is 10 days for both tests.

The Early Detection Hepatitis C test takes three working days from when the sample is received in the laboratory.

Regular retesting is advised if you continue to be at risk. A repeat test is recommended with every partner change.

What to do if the test is positive

Hepatitis C can be treated and cured. If you test positive for Hepatitis C you will be referred to the appropriate specialist doctor. They will gather more information about your Hepatitis C and the effect it has had on your body. You may undergo specialist scans or biopsy of the liver. This information will help them to recommend the best treatment for you.

If you are concerned that you have been exposed to Hepatitis C then please discuss this with our sexual health and HIV consultant and she may advise other tests that are relevant to you.

Pricing

Hepatitis C 10 day Early Detection Test £49.00
Hepatitis C Antibody Test £85.00
Hepatitis C Instant Test £95.00