Who Should Get Tested?

 

Everyone! Many people mistakenly think that they are tested for hepatitis C at their annual physical – but most doctors do not test for hepatitis C unless you have told them that you may be, or have been, at risk.

If you’ve never been tested for hepatitis C, or you’re not sure, we recommend that you get tested. It’s the only way to know if you have the virus.

 

When Should You Get Tested?

Any time! If you’ve done something that may have put you at risk for hepatitis C, you’ll need to wait for 3 months before you get tested – otherwise, the results may not be accurate.

 

What Kind of Test Is Done?

Testing for hepatitis C is done through two blood tests. You can read about it here. Unfortunately, there is no ‘rapid test’ for hepatitis C in Canada. Results can take up to 2 weeks.

If your first blood test is negative, it means that you do not have hepatitis C. A negative result is a good time to talk about harm reduction and how to keep yourself safer. You do not need to have a second blood test if the first one is negative.

If your first blood test is positive, it does not mean that you have hepatitis C, only that you have been exposed to it. You will need to have a second blood test done to confirm whether you have the virus. Approximately 1 in 4 people are able to clear the virus without medical help – but they’ll still show up positive on the first test.

If the second blood test is positive, it means the virus is in your blood.

 

What Kind of Test Is Done?

  • Dried blood spot testing: This is when your finger gets pricked and blood is dropped onto a piece of paper. Once dry, this can be sent to the lab for hepatitis C antibody testing, and sometimes other tests as well. It can take up to 3 weeks for the results to come back, and may not always be an option for testing.
  • Point-of-care: This includes a finger prick where a small drop of blood is tested and results given within 20 minutes. This test is only checking for hepatitis C antibodies (known as the “first test” above).
  • Venipuncture: This is when a needle is inserted into your vein just like when going to the lab. The results of the first test for hepatitis C antibodies takes around one week to come back. The second test results looking for the actual virus takes 2 weeks.

 

Learn More About Treatment Options

 

Where Can You Get Tested?

Your family doctor or nurse can test you for Hepatitis C. Testing is also available at most Public Health units. You can also contact Sanguen to make an appointment for testing.

We strongly recommend that you call ahead to the location where you would like to be tested to make sure they are open and that someone will be available to do the testing.

Free testing is also available in Waterloo Region at:

  • St. John’s Kitchen (97 Victoria St. North, Kitchener) Mondays from 11 to 1pm
    (drop-in or by appointment)
  • The Sanguen Community Health Van (Tuesday nights in Cambridge, Wednesday nights in Kitchener and Guelph, Thursday nights in Kitchener and Guelph)-
    (drop-in or by appointment)
  • Waterloo Region Public Health (99 Regina St South, 2nd floor, Waterloo)
    (no health card required, call for drop-in times or to make an appointment – 519-575-4400)
  • Waterloo Region Public Health (150 Main Street, 1st floor, Cambridge)
    (no health card required, call for drop-in times or to make an appointment – 519-883-2267)
  • ACCKWA (5 – 1770 King St East, Kitchener)
    (drop-in, no health card required – Thursdays from 4-7pm (519) 570–3687)

And in Guelph-Wellington at:

Refer to: https://www.catie.ca/en/practical-guides/hepc-in-depth/what-hep-c/what-is-risky To see how hepatitis C is spread.

© Copyright - Sanguen Health Centre 2019. Sanguen is a not-for-profit, community-based health care agency with offices in Waterloo and Guelph, Ontario.