Got a spare 20 minutes? That's all it takes to get the new quick and easy blood test for hepatitis C (hep C). You can also scan your liver to do a general health check.
Why do I need to know if I have hep C?
Hep C doesn't usually make you sick at first. Many people don't even realise they have it, and can live for many years without knowing. Over time it slowly and silently damages your liver. Often by the time symptoms start showing permanent damage has already been done.
But you don't like needles and blood tests?
No problem! This is a blood test, but not like you know it. A prick of your finger and a few drops is all it takes to know if you have Hep C.
The Dried Blood Spot (DBS) test, is an easy screening tool which can test for hepatitis C and HIV. You can elect to test for one or both on the test. If it comes back positive, you'll be contacted for a follow-up test to confirm the result and linked into care.
If a hepatitis DBS test isn't for you, you're still welcome to come and have a chat and get a fibroscan, which provides a quick and easy snapshot to see how healthy your liver is. The liver is really important to health and wellbeing, and lots of things can affect how well it works, so a fibroscan is a great idea to check in on one of your hardest working organs and stay healthy.
How long does the test take?
The DBS test takes a couple of minutes; just a few quick questions, a fingerprick and a few drops on the testing paper. The paper is left to dry, then sent to the lab for testing. It takes 1-2 weeks to get results, but only a few minutes of real work for you.
Only a few minutes work to know your status! It's that easy!
A fibroscan will usually take about 20 minutes, so for half an hour of your time you can get both tests.
What's the take away?
Experienced Local Health District Staff will be visiting communities to provide Hep C pop-up testing blitzes around the Western NSW LHD as we work alongside other services e.g. Hepatitis NSW to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2028.
These pop-up Hep C testing days are a chance to have a chat with health staff, and people who have lived experience of Hep C treatment. In addition to Dried Blood Spot (DBS) screening, Liver nurses will be offering fibroscan liver check-ups.
As always services are free, friendly, and confidential.
For people who are more at risk and are eligible, there are incentives/vouchers for screening.
Local liver nurse Kathrine McQuillan says “The best news is that hep C can now be easily cured. Which such easy testing and treatment available, it's a great time to come and see us."
Come and have a chat and see if you should be thinking about a hep C test.
The next blitz days are:
Dates Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 November 2020
Location Kelso, Kelso Community Hub 24 Bonner Street
Times 10am – 2pm