Eliminating Hepatitis C.

By Wendy Alam, 31st July 2023

Free and confidential home tests for he patitis C now available via the NHS

UKHSA is committed to eliminating hepatitis C as a major public health threat in England.

Achieving this ambition is crucial. If left untreated, hepatitis C can lead to life-threatening conditions like liver cancer or liver failure. While significant progress is being made to reduce the number of people with hepatitis C, more needs to be done to prevent new infections and reinfections.

Many people across England may have hepatitis C without knowing. Sharing toothbrushes, getting tattoos abroad, having unprotected sexual intercourse and injecting drugs are just some of the ways people can contract hepatitis C. People born in countries with higher prevalence of hepatitis C, such as in Eastern Europe and South Asia, or those who have had medical treatments abroad are also at increased risk. To reach the goal of eliminating hepatitis C more people need to be tested.

To help address this issue, the NHS has launched a new online home testing service for hepatitis C. It will allow members of the public, aged 18 and above, to access free hepatitis C testing online. Once ordered, test kits can be sent anywhere in England, allowing people to test at home safely and discreetly, with results returned within two weeks.

Online testing has been shown to improve uptake from more marginalised communities. It also allows service users to test at a time that suits them. By increasing access to testing, people can be diagnosed and treated earlier as well as help reduce onward transmission.

Easy to take oral direct antiviral treatments can clear the hepatitis C virus in the vast majority of people so it important to get more people tested.

The portal can be accessed here

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