Close to 130,000 people across Australia still have hepatitis C – some don’t know they have it. If you think you might be at risk for hep C, it’s very important to get tested. This is because hep C is now easy to cure since the new treatments became available in 2016. The only way to find out if you have hep C is to get tested.
Who Should Be Tested For Hepatitis C?
There are a few different blood tests that will tell you if you have hep C. You should speak to your doctor about booking a hep C test if you are:
- a person who has injected inject drugs or steroids
- someone who is in prison or has been in prison
- a person who has had blood transfusions, blood products or organ transplant in Australia before February 1990
- someone who has a tattoo or body piercing
- a person who has emigrated from countries where hep C is widespread
- a man who has sex with men
- someone who was born to a mother who was hep C positive during her pregnancy
- a person who has had a needle-stick injury
- someone who doesn’t fit the above profiles but has abnormal liver function tests or who is experiencing hep C symptoms
If you live in NSW and think you should get tested for hep C, search our services Directory to find a hep C testing doctor near you.
When Should I Test For Hep C?
Many people don’t feel sick when they first get hep C. If you are exposed to hep C, your body will try and fight the virus for 6 months. 1 in 4 people will clear hep C in those first 6 months.
People who don’t clear their hep C will have what’s called ‘chronic hep C’. You can get tested for hep C straight after you think you have been exposed, but you will need to go back for another test after 12 weeks and possibly again at 6 months.
Hepatitis C Testing Types
Testing for hep C starts off with a hep C antibody test. This test looks for human antibodies – something that your body produces to fight the virus. If your hep C antibody test result is “positive”, then it means you have been exposed to the hep C virus at some point.
If you get a “positive” antibody result, then your sample of blood is tested again using a PCR test (PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction). This test looks for parts of the actual hep C virus. If the PCR test result is “positive” it means that you have hep C. Have a look at our Hep C Testing chart for more info on hep C tests.
Do You Want More Information About Hep C Testing?
If you’d like more information about hep C testing, you can use any of our free resources below:
- Contact our Hepatitis Infoline for a confidential chat
- Read our hep C testing chart
- Download one of our free hepatitis C resources
Alternatively you can book an appointment with your doctor for more information about hepatitis C.
This page last updated 17 June 2020