Today is World Hepatitis Day with the theme of ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait‘ encouraging people to get tested for hepatitis as soon as possible.
Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus that can affect the liver. If left untreated it can cause life threatening damage to the liver. There are estimated 215,000 cases in the UK. Globally, it is thought that 80% of people infected with hep C do not know they have it. You can become infected if you come into contact with the blood of an infected person. They main ways people might become infected are:
- Having sex without a barrier method such as a condom
- Sharing injecting equipment
- Sharing glass pipes for smoking or vaping
- Sharing notes or other snorting tubes for snorting drugs
When you use a glass pipe to smoke or vape drugs, the glass pipe can heat up and lead to dry and cracked lips. This means microscopic particles of blood may be left on the mouthpiece and passes on to the next person who uses the pipe and this could result in a hepatitis transmission. Similarly, snorting tubes can cause tiny cuts on the inside of your nose (even if you don’t feel them) which could result in blood droplets on the end of the tube. Avoid this by using your own snorting tube.
Hepatitis C can be treated effectively and people will go on to have a normal life expectancy. If you think you could be at risk from a hepatitis transmission don’t wait – get tested.
The World Health Organisation has set a target of 2030 by which we should have eliminated transmission of the hepatitis C virus. The best ways to achieve this in Scotland are,
- Get tested regularly
- Use barrier methods when having sex – pick up some free condoms from Crew!
- Avoid sharing injecting equipment
- Avoid sharing pipes
- Avoid sharing notes or tubes when snorting drugs.
You can access FREE blood borne virus testing at the Crew Drop-in. We offer testing dry blood spot testing for HIV, hep B and hep C.
You can access blood borne virus testing for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C at the Crew Drop-In Monday to Saturday (booking encouraged though not vital). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
You can also access FREE rapid result ‘Point of Care’ testing for HIV and syphilis on Thursdays 5-7pm, either at Crew on Cockburn St or at Waverley Care/SX at Mansfield Place, as part of our partnership service with Waverley Care. This service is open to anyone 16+ who wishes to access testing. Point of Care testing offers test and results within 20mins. Booking is advised – get in touch.