If you have decided to go ahead with a test, there are a number of people you can approach to arrange it, although this is likely to differ depending on where you live. Some areas, especially urban and metropolitan areas, have more testing sites than others. All GPs offer testing, as do most sexual health clinics and many drug and alcohol services.
Some GPs are able to undertake hepatitis C antibody testing. Depending on their facilities this may involve a blood test. This could be taken at the doctor’s surgery and then sent off for laboratory analysis or you might be referred to a local hospital for the test and the results would then be sent back to your doctor’s surgery.
Sexual Health Clinics or GUM departments
Most sexual health clinics or GUM departments provide hepatitis C antibody testing (in Scotland all GUM clinics provide testing). It would be wise to first check whether you require an appointment for a test. Although some units have a walk-in facility, others operate an appointment system. Sexual Health Clinics and GUM Clinics operate an anonymous clinic number system and so it is possible to have the test and get your result anonymously. If you decide to provide the clinic with a name other than your real name, you should retain your clinic number and make a note of your recorded details. You will later need these to obtain your test results.
Drug Dependency Units and Community Drug Teams
If you are accessing the services of a Drug Dependency Unit or Community Drug Team, then they are usually able to undertake hepatitis C testing. Once again you are advised to call and check first whether or not you need to book an appointment.
One Stop Health Shops
Some areas have walk-in one-stop health shops, often located in town or city centres. These facilities offer a number of health-related services, often including hepatitis C testing. Once again you may be required to make an appointment for a future test.
If you are a pregnant woman you may be offered a hepatitis C antibody test while attending an antenatal appointment. If you are pregnant and concerned about hepatitis C and would like to undertake a hepatitis C test, you should discuss this with your antenatal carer.