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Information about hepatitis C

Free and confidential home tests for hepatitis C now available via the NHS.

The NHS is committed to eliminating hepatitis C as a major public health issue in England, ahead of the World Health Organization goal to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

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.

Hepatitis C is a virus that damages the liver. Hepatitis C is passed via blood-to-blood contact. This means that blood infected with the virus must get into the bloodstream of another person for it to be passed on. You can't get hepatitis C through everyday things like hugging, kissing, handshakes, sharing cutlery or food, or toilet seats.

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. To reach our goal of eliminating hepatitis C we need to get more people testing.

If you are over the age of 18 and live in England, can now order a free and confidential home test for hepatitis C via the NHS. This is an at-home, self-sample test taking a few drops of blood from your finger. If found positive for hepatitis C, you can be treated and cured. Drug treatment for hepatitis C involves taking tablets daily, typically for between 8 to 12 weeks. Most people have no side effects from treatment.

Order a free and confidential home testing kit today: Home - HepC (hepctest.nhs.uk)

The Hepatitis C Trust run a confidential helpline and they can provide information and support to anyone affected by hepatitis C. It is staffed by people with personal experience of hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment. Call them on 020 7089 6221 (open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10.30am to 4.30pm), or contact them by email: helpline@hepctrust.org.uk

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