Hepatitis C - When to Test
Your commonly answered questions about Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C (HCV) is a chronic infection which is often asymptomatic, so screening is necessary to identify those with an infection but only those with risk factors. The Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health does not recommend screening adults not at elevated risk of HCV. Risk factors and screening is indentified in the table below.
HCV can be acquired through 'percutaneous exposure' (inadequately sterilized medical equipment) or the reciept of contaminated blood prdocuts. Other risk factors include use of IV drugs, high risk sexual contact, unsterilized tattoo or piercing equipment, and occupational exposures. Many people with chronic HCV infection do not develop symptoms and not everyone will develop cirrhosis (liver damage).
We recommend screening in only the following risk categories:
    Current or past history of injection drug use
    Have been incarcerated
    Born, travelled or resided in an HCV-endemic country
    Recieved healthcare where there is a lack of universal precautions
    Recipient of blood transfusions, blood products, or an organ transplant before 1992
    Hemodialysis patients
    Individuals who have had needle stick injuries
    Other risks sometimes associated with HSV exposure, such as:
      High risk sexual behaviours, homelessness, intranasal and inhalation drug use, tatooing, body percing, sharing sharp instruments or personal hygiene materials with someone who is HCV positive
If you do not follow into one of the above risk categories, we DO NOT recommend screening testing.
References
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