We are now offering routine HIV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis testing for adults in the Emergency Department at The James Cook University Hospital.
Why should I be tested?
HIV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis are infections carried in the blood. Many people with these infections don’t have symptoms and are unaware they are carrying them. Knowing whether you do or don’t have these infections means you can protect yourself and others.
The tests for these infections are optional and if you decide to opt-out of these tests your care will not be affected.
How could these infections affect my health?
Late diagnosis of HIV reduces life expectancy by around 15 years and causes significant ill-health.
Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver damage (cirrhosis) and liver cancer.
Syphilis is a serious infection which can affect many body systems and can be passed on to a baby during pregnancy.
If I have these infections, could I pass them on to others?
It is possible to pass these infections to others through sex, or contact with infected blood, (for example, sharing needles).
Taking treatment regularly stops the risk of passing the viruses onto others.
Is there treatment for people with these infections?
HIV and Hepatitis B can be managed with daily tablets. If diagnosed early enough, people with HIV or Hepatitis B can live a long and healthy life.
Hepatitis C and syphilis can be cured with a short course of medications.
How would I know if I have any of these infections?
The only way to know is to get a specific blood test, which is not usually included in blood tests done by your GP.
How will I get the results of my blood test?
If you have a ‘reactive result’ (provisional positive), we will contact you to make an appointment to discuss the next steps. If your test for syphilis is positive, you will be contacted by the local sexual health clinic (HCR Care Group) to arrange assessment and treatment after we provide your information to them.
Please note that sometimes it is not possible for all samples to be tested in the laboratory: while we will try to test all blood samples, we cannot guarantee that yours will have been tested.
What is the ‘window period’?
The window period is the time it takes from being infected until the infection shows up on your blood test:
- It can take 6-12 weeks for HIV, hepatitis B or syphilis to show up on your blood test.
- It can take up to 6 months for hepatitis C to show up on your blood test.
If you have been at recent risk of these infections, you can contact your GP or local sexual health service for a follow-up test.
- The Sexual Health Hub (Teesside)
- YorSexualHealth (North Yorkshire)
- The Hepatitis C Trust
- Terrence Higgins Trust
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.