Should I get tested if I'm injecting drugs even though I'm not having sex?

Yes and a blood test will determine whether a person has developed the antibodies to hepatitis C.

It can take up to 12 weeks following transmission for sufficient antibodies to be present following exposure to be detectable in a blood test – this is known as the ‘window period’. A negative antibody test in this time may not be definitive.

If a person is found to be antibody positive, another blood test is required to check for the presence of the actual virus. This is done because about 25% of people who contract the hepatitis C virus will resolve the infection naturally but will still have the (harmless and non-protective) antibodies, usually for life.

The more often risks are taken, like sharing injecting equipment, the more often you should be tested for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV.

Hepatitis B antibodies, produced by the immune system, may take six weeks to six months, from the time of initial infection, to be present in levels high enough to be detected. If you inject drugs (regardless of the frequency) or you are living with hepatitis C, it is advisable to get vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

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