If you think you are at risk, a simple blood test can diagnose the infection.
‘Hepatitis’ means inflammation of the liver. Inflammation (from any cause) can damage the liver and reduce the liver’s ability to do its job. The liver is a big organ on the right side of the belly, under the lower ribs.
The Hepatitis B or C virus infections cause slow damage to the liver over the years in which it remains undiagnosed – and ultimately this can result is cirrhosis of the liver, or even liver failure. This is much harder to treat successfully – and so you should get tested if you believe you’re at risk!
You can ask for a test at your GP surgery.
Some tests can detect the actual virus protein (Hepatitis B).
Some tests can only detect the virus based on the body making of antibody against the virus (Hepatitis C). In hepatitis C, the body can take up to 8 weeks before it makes enough antibody to be detected on the blood test. We call this the ‘window period’. If you think your exposure to hepatitis C happened more recently then 8 weeks, we may not be able to detect it even though you are already infected and repeat testing is necessary.
If you are worried about Hepatitis, you can order a postal fingerpick test for Hepatitis B and C using our postal testing service, TakeATestUK.