People in Sheffield are being invited to attend free Hepatitis C blood testing on Thursday 28 July to mark World Hepatitis Day.
The Sheffield Treatment and Recovery Team (START) are running a drop-in clinic at the Fitzwilliam Centre on Bowden Street from 10am to 4pm offering finger prick testing that takes just 10 minutes to carry out.
The results of the test will be available in two weeks.
Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver, and if left untreated it can cause serious and life-threatening damage to the liver, including hepatocellular carcinoma (cancer of the liver).
It is estimated that more than 100,000 people in the UK had Hepatitis C in 2019. However, nine out of 10 people living with Hepatitis are unaware they have contracted the virus, which can be completely cured if detected.
The Hepatitis C virus is usually spread through blood-to-blood contact.
Hepatitis C often does not have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged.
Symptoms can include:
- flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and a high temperature (fever)
- feeling tired all the time
- loss of appetite
- stomach ache
- feeling and being sick
The only way to know for certain if these symptoms are caused by Hepatitis C is to get tested.
Andrew Falconer, Blood Borne Viruses Lead in the START Team said: “Hepatitis C screening is a finger prick test where dots of blood are patched onto a testing sheet and sent off for testing. Hepatitis C can be treated and often cured if it is caught early enough. It takes just 10 minutes and we would encourage anyone who is displaying symptoms of Hepatitis C, or who has injected drugs at any point in their life, to pop down and get a quick test.”
The blood test will also screen for HIV and other blood borne viruses and infections.