The Hepatitis Foundation no longer operates a National Hepatitis C Follow-up Programme as patient services are now managed by regional DHBs (District Health Boards).
Important: While the Foundation no longer operates a Hepatitis C Follow-up Programme, we still operate a Hepatitis B Follow-up Programme.
If you think you have hepatitis C or would like to access treatment please contact your local GP. However if you have any questions about hepatitis C or need someone to talk to you can call our helpline on 0800 30 20 10.
If you live in the Midlands region (BoP, Waikato, Taranaki, Lakes, Tairawhiti) your monitoring and follow-up is now managed by Waikato DHB. If you have any questions about your Fibroscan appointment please call Kathryn on 07 839 8899 ext: 96289.
If you live in the Central region (Capital & Coast, Hutt, Wairarapa, Manawatu, Hawkes Bay) your monitoring and follow-up is now managed by Compass Health. If you have any questions about your Fibroscan appointment please call Sheryl on 027 549 6614 or 04 978 4303..
Please see your doctor (GP) for a referral to a Hepatitis C Programme near you.
Information of GPs: Referrals
All Fibroscan referrals from GPs should be made through your local health pathway.
Having a FibroScan is one of the most important things you can do to assess the health of your liver. A FibroScan is a simple, painless tool that determines if liver damage (fibrosis or cirrhosis) is present by measuring the degree of stiffness in the liver. The FibroScan assessment usually takes between 10 and 15 minutes and the results of the scan can be given immediately after.
You can have a FibroScan if:
If you require a Fibroscan for immigration purposes click here.
Read the article ‘An in-depth look at the FibroScan‘ from issue 11 of Talking Hep C for more information.
You can keep healthy by:
Drinking less alcohol is the most important lifestyle change you can make. Anyone with hepatitis C is recommended to keep alcohol intake to a minimum to reduce the risk of developing hepatitis-related complications. Regular and heavy alcohol intake will increase liver damage and increase your risk of cirrhosis.
For more information, read the article ‘The cost of alcohol on your liver‘ from issue 10 of Talking Hep C.
Cannabis and other drug use should also be reduced as this can scar your liver.
Also avoid eating fatty foods as they clog your liver and stop it working.
People with hepatitis also need to mindful about taking pain relief medication. Please read the article ‘Pain relief and your liver‘ from issue 12 of Talking Hep C.
This will help you cope better with hepatitis C and will also help avoid other liver problems such as fatty liver disease. Fatty liver is a condition where excess fat builds up inside the cells within the liver. Fatty liver may speed up the progression of scarring in people with chronic hepatitis C.
If you experience symptoms such as no energy, low concentration or not wanting to exercise or eat, you can do simple things to help such as:
To monitor your hepatitis C you will need regular liver function tests. The tests measure chemicals in the blood made by the liver and give information about the condition of a person’s liver. They help monitor the activity and severity of hepatitis C. Some of the tests include:
While you do not have to tell anyone about your diagnosis, reasonable precautions must be taken to avoid passing it on to others (see above for ‘preventing the spread’). It is often best to tell people you trust or people directly affected, such as household members or sexual partners.
People living with hepatitis C do not have to tell employers, unless you work in an environment that may put others at risk, such as healthcare. Discrimination against people with hepatitis in the workplace is illegal.
Telling health care workers such as a doctor or nurse may be beneficial for good health care (e.g. prescribing the most suitable medications). Health care workers, including dentists, must use standard infection control precautions for all situations and procedures that may involve contact with blood or other bodily fluids, regardless of whether you have hepatitis C or not.
Read about ‘Stigma and discrimination‘ in an article in issue 12 of Talking Hep C.
Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact. To avoid infecting others you should take the following steps:
Hepatitis C is not spread through everyday contact, e.g. touching, sneezing, coughing, or sharing cutlery.
Any patient with chronic hepatitis C should always discuss the use of any complementary or alternative medicine with their doctor or pharmacist.
While many complementary medicines are safe and provide specific benefits to people with chronic hepatitis, they can also have harmful effects and can interfere with other medicines, such as St John’s Wort, which reduces the effectiveness of telaprevir or victrelis treatment. The risk of liver toxicity from any medicine, both prescribed and complementary, is much higher in someone with underlying chronic viral hepatitis.
For more information, read the article ‘The long and short of it: Complementary medicines and hepatitis C‘ from issue 2 of Talking Hep C.