We were very pleased to welcome staff from the Hepatitis C Trust to Emmaus Dover last week, for Hepatitis C screening tests.

Steve and Brian, pictured above with our support worker Sharon, administered tests to almost every companion and staff member. Companions received £5 gift vouchers or a £10 voucher if they had been tested last year as well. Staff members also donated their £5 gift vouchers to companions.

Emmaus Dover Community Leader Debs Golden said of the visit: “The Screening team have been coming to us here for 3 years now. Having the screening team come to Emmaus Dover is a great way for companions and staff to be tested for Hep C. This allows us to understand more about it, how it is passed on from one person to another, how we can then support those with it and importantly keep everyone as safe as possible. It helps reduce the stigma of this disease and gives peace of mind to everyone. The team are very friendly and never judge a person based on their background.”

Hepatitis C can cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver over many years. However, with modern treatments it’s usually possible to cure the infection. Those who receive treatment for the disease usually have a normal life expectancy.

Carrying out screenings like this one is absolutely vital. According to the NHS: “Hepatitis C often does not have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged. This means many people have the infection without realising it. When symptoms do occur, they can be mistaken for another condition.”

You can find out more about the Hepatitis C Trust on their website. You can contact the Trust about providing a similar screening service or order a test from the NHS here.