When should I get tested?
Hepatitis B and C viruses are transmitted by blood or sexually. Transmission during sexual intercourse is rare in hepatitis C, but in hepatitis B it is the main mode of transmission today is. The following risks for transmission exist:
- operations, other medical interventions or dental treatment in emerging or developing countries
- Preservation of blood reserves before 1992
- Mother's hepatitis disease at birth
- tattoos, piercings or manicure, pedicure under poor hygienic conditions
- drug injecting or sniffing
- Born between 1950 and 1985 (only hepatitis C: people born in these cohorts are particularly susceptible to hepatitis C).
A test can also provide certainty for symptoms such as fatigue, concentration difficulties, pain in the right upper abdomen, depression, muscle and joint complaints where the cause is unclear.
If one or more of the risks or symptoms apply, or if you are unsure whether you have been exposed to the possibility of infection in the past, you can have yourself tested. An antibody test is uncomplicated and can be done by any general practitioner. For hepatitis C, it shows whether you have ever had contact with the virus. If the antibody test is positive, a confirmatory test is needed to look for virus components. In the case of hepatitis B, an additional check is made to see whether there is immunity. This can result from a vaccination or a healed infection with the hepatitis B virus.
A list of testing and treatment centres for hepatitis and contacts of specialists can be found below.