There is now a cure for Hep C. It is one tablet a day for 12 weeks and is being rolled out across Ireland in an attempt to eliminate Hep C by 2030.
There are often no symptoms for Hep C for many years. Hep C is a virus that affects the liver. Hep (liver) atitis (swelling) and over time it can cause scarring to the liver which reduces the liver function and ultimately (after many years) can cause liver failure if left untreated. The good news is, that it is easy to detect with the right test, and the liver is able to recover from damage if it is caught and cured early enough. Plus, if you are living with Hep C there are things you can do to minimise the risk of developing liver cirrhosis (scarring).
If you are thinking of getting tested just remember that you will need to ask specifically for the test. Whether it be at a doctor or an STI / GUM / IDC clinic, unless you state you have been sharing works for injecting drug use or are presenting with obvious symptoms, HCV tests are not standard practice.
Hep C is not one of the things generally tested for in a sexual health screen and as there is no vaccination, it is a good idea to get checked if:
- You have ever snorted cocaine and shared the toot (cone, straw)
- You have ever had a home (or prison) piercing, brand or tattoo
- You have ever engaged in blood letting play during sexual activity
- You have ever had a partner or household member who was living with Hep C
- You have ever had medical care abroad that included injections (especially in high endemic countries)
- You are a man who has (or has had) sex with men (or trans* women with penis)
- You have had a sexual partner from a high endemic country
- You have ever injected a drug, heroin, crystal meth, speed, steroids, etc and shared any part of the injecting equipment with someone else
- You have received infected blood products during surgery or blood transfusion
We offer a comprehensive free testing and support program:
- Rapid Hep C Test (5 minute result finger prick test for HCV antibodies)
- Referral for follow on test (HCV viral PCR)
- Peer support network of PLWHCV (people living with Hep C)
- Personal support from a support worker
WHO (World Health Organisation) states that High Endemic Areas are:
Bahrain, Cyprus, Iran, Islamic Republic of Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Oman
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt
Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Yugoslavia, Belarus, Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Ukraine. Plus North African countries and South American countries.