Hepatitis C

Anyone at risk of hepatitis C should be offered a test, this includes:

  • Anyone who has ever injected drugs
  • Recipients of unscreened blood transfusion or blood products
  • People from countries where hepatitis C is endemic
  • People who may have had unsterile medical or dental procedures abroad
  • People involved in high risk sexual practices with a person who is HCV positive
  • People who may have had ear piercing, body piercing, tattooing or acupuncture with unsterile equipment
  • Children born to mothers with HCV who are HCV RNA positive
  • Consider for any patient with abnormal liver function tests (LFT), especially elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT)

Sample required for diagnosis: two clotted blood (2-4ml) samples ( purple top EDTA blood bottles) should be sent to your local laboratory for antibody testing. If positive, tests to detect viral RNA will be performed and a second sample will be required for confirmation.

Further testing will be required if the last exposure risk occurred in the preceding three month 'window period'.