Get a hepatitis C test on World Hepatitis Day to put your worries behind you
New Zealanders at risk of hepatitis C should make sure to get a quick and easy finger-prick test on World Hepatitis Day this Thursday (28 July), says Dr Nick Chamberlain, National Director of Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand National Public Health Service.
“Most people with hepatitis C can be cured by a simple oral treatment that is free with just a prescription.
“Around 40,000-45,000 New Zealanders are living with chronic hepatitis C. While some people with hepatitis C experience unusual tiredness, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea and abdominal pain, many people don’t notice any symptoms until irreparable damage has occurred.
“If left untreated, up to a quarter of people with hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis, which can progress to life-threatening liver cancer or liver failure,” says Dr Nick Chamberlain.
“More than 200 New Zealanders continue to die from hepatitis C each year. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by earlier diagnosis and treatment because hepatitis C is now ‘easy test, easy cure’.
“I strongly urge anyone at risk of hepatitis C to get tested even if you don’t have any symptoms.
“There are lots of places you can get a hepatitis C finger-prick test including some pharmacies, Kaupapa Māori health providers and needle exchanges, plus there are mobile services visiting key locations. You can find out where to get a hepatitis C test by visiting the Ministry of Health website or by asking your GP.
“You’ll get your test results within minutes and they’re 100 percent confidential – no questions asked.
“If you do test positive, there’s an easy cure called Maviret that is taken orally for about 8-12 weeks. It’s free with a prescription and has a success rate of up to 98 percent.”
You are at risk of hepatitis C if you:
· have ever injected drugs or shared equipment
· have ever received a tattoo or body piercing using unsterile equipment
· had a blood product transfusion before 1992
· have ever lived in a high-risk country or received medical treatment there
· have ever been in prison
· were born to a mother with hepatitis C.
Note to editors:
Key locations where hepatitis C testing is available this Thursday, World Hepatitis Day, include:
· pharmacies across Northland and Auckland
· Wellington City Mission, 19 Gordon Place, Newtown (1.30-2.30pm)
· He Waka Tapu, 161 Pages Rd, Wainoni, Christchurch (1-3pm)
· Huntly West Pharmacy, 4 Bridge Street, Huntly
· Gordon’s Pharmacy, 1 Mangapapa Road, Gisborne
· Vivian Street Pharmacy, 95 Vivian Street, New Plymouth
· Anglesea Pharmacy, 9 Thackeray Street, Hamilton
· Mount Medical Centre, 257 Maunganui Road, Mt Maunganui
· Te Korowai General Practices in:
o Coromandel (225 Kapanga Road)
o Thames (210 Richmond Street)
o Whitianga (2 Coghill Street)
o Paeroa (43 Belmont Road)
o Te Aroha (221 Whitaker Street)
· Needle exchanges in:
o New Plymouth (169 De Havilland Drive)
o Hamilton (16 Vialou Street)
o Mount Maunganui (21 Totara Street)
o Rotorua (1478 Hinemoa Street)
o Wellington (233a Willis Street)
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