Outreach and testing van
Accessing hepatitis C testing can be difficult for many of those more likely to have been at risk. Often the service offering testing is far away, or people are frightened of having blood taken, or they simply don’t know they’re at risk. These are important reasons why most people with hepatitis C in the UK today are still undiagnosed.
The Hepatitis C Trust’s outreach and testing van is designed to overcome some of these barriers to diagnosis. We target the most at risk populations in an area where testing’s not yet easily available, and we go to them, offering clear information and advice from trained staff as well as on the spot rapid antibody testing.
Since our launch in November 2011 till November 2014 we’ve held more than 225 testing and awareness events, engaging over 4,000 people of whom 2,000 were tested on the van. Consistently 10% of tests to date have identified hepatitis C antibodies.
Before we arrive we work with local services to publicise the visit, ensure we make the most of our time there and that the right facilities and onward referral steps are in place. Sometimes what’s needed most is information and we often attend events to raise awareness and help educate people about hepatitis C.