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Advising patients with hepatitis C in primary care
  • Relevant BNF sections: 5.3.3, 5.3.5, 8.2.4


Infection with hepatitis C virus can cause a slowly progressive disease of the liver. By the end of 2003, there had been around 60,000 reported laboratory diagnoses of this infection in the UK. In addition, around five times as many people are thought to have been infected but are unaware of this.1,2 While those diagnosed with hepatitis C infection should be offered referral to a specialist for investigation and treatment,3 many will also need information and reassurance from healthcare professionals working in primary care. Also, the new national strategy to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C infection will increase the number of people who are tested for the virus and, therefore, require counselling about their test results.1 Here we provide practical advice to help healthcare professionals in their discussions with patients.

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