The National Health Service (NHS) England has launched new self-testing kits as part of its Hepatitis C elimination programme.
To conduct the test, a small blood sample is obtained through a finger prick and placed in a test tube. The test tube is then sent to a lab for analysis.
The primary objective of the new self-testing kits is to target individuals who may not be engaged with other services such as prison and probation services and drug and alcohol support.
Additionally, these kits are intended for individuals who may have potentially been exposed to the virus previously or who cannot approach their general practitioner (GP).
NHS national medical director Stephen Powis said: “As we celebrate 75 years of the NHS, I’m delighted we are on track to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030, which may rank among the most significant NHS successes in history, alongside the mass vaccination of polio and diphtheria, organ transplants and driving down smoking rates.”
The new self-testing kits will be available for the public through the NHS web portal, which was developed in partnership with Preventx and further support from Nuom and the Hepatitis C Trust.
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Preventx offers remote diagnostic services for the NHS and CEO Ruth Poole said: “By offering this pioneering remote service for hepatitis C, we will be able to get more people to test and help ensure no one slips through the cracks. Crucially, we will also be able to start treatment for those people who are infected as early as possible.”