free hep c testing

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 4/6/2008 10:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Local blood banks do free screening when you donate.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 1539
   Posted 4/11/2008 4:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Local blood banks and the Red Cross should NEVER be relied upon for testing for infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis! If they say "free testing" on its own great...go in and test. But if the testing is just a part of their blood collection process, please do not use this method to test. Yes they will inform you if you are infected, but these tests are very expensive, and should not be used to help you diagnose- it is a waste of limited resources. Furthermore, if you are positive but inside the window period where you may not test accurately, you risk infecting the person who receives your blood when it tests ok on their end. There are other resources available for testing, both low cost and free, if you know where to look for them.

Try calling a state HIV hotline for testing referrals, since HIV/Hep C coinfection are so common. If you have reason to believe you could be infected with Hep, HIV, or any other blood borne pathogen, you should NEVER use a blood bank to test. HIV/AIDS Forum Moderator
HIV Hotline Counselor

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 1539
   Posted 4/12/2008 7:35 AM (GMT -7)   
The cost is to the American Red Cross and/or blood banks themselves- not the consumer.

The reason that the Red Cross and national blood banks took so long to adopt universal viral load testing in the nation's blood supply is that it was going to cost those organizations a LOT of money, in a field where money is not always readily available. Because of the dragging of their feet, huge numbers of people were infected with HIV infected blood even after we had the ability to test for it.

The problem with testing at a blood donation location is that tests are not fool proof- especially for Hepatitis C, since there is no solid window period. And if someone goes to test prior to recommended windows, they may be infected, and it will not be detectable yet in the blood. Because of this, blood that is infected can possibly get through into the blood supply, with a recipient of the blood getting infected. If someone believes they may have been infected and need to test, there are always other options, even if they are not that easy to find. Hospitals, local health centers... without a doubt, Hep C testing is not as widely available as say, HIV testing, but there are better options, and every state has an HIV hotline. People who get HIV are often coinfected with Hepatitis C, and so HIV hotlines tend to have resources for Hepatitis C testing as well.

Testing through a blood donation system when there has been a potential risk of transmission for Hepatitis potentially puts recipients at risk for infection. HIV/AIDS Forum Moderator
HIV Hotline Counselor

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 4/13/2008 4:48 PM (GMT -7)   

Talk to Me is right! Using a blood donation facility as a free personal diagnostic tool is not only less than 100% accurate, its less than 100% ethical.

If you suspect you might be positive use the phone book & find resources for free screening. Any AIDs project or Hep C resource center can direct you to you a free testing resource that will also include counseling if desired.

As a Hep C+ person it is my responsiblity NOT to infect others and be more educated than the general population. Also as a Hep C+ person I will never accept a blood transfusion as I never know what killer virus is lurking in the wings. I believe the next one will certainly be blood borne & is likely in the blood supply already. 

I know there is Hep C (Hep goes up to H last I checked) genotype 4 (goes up to 6) out there now that is as difficult to clear (maybe harder) as type 1. 



Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 1539
   Posted 4/13/2008 7:26 PM (GMT -7)   
From the CDC website Hepatitis C Virus FAQ:

"[question] Since more advanced tests have been developed for use in blood banks, what is the chance now that a person can get HCV infection from transfused blood or blood products?
[answer] Less than 1 chance per 2 million units transfused."

That is a very low number, but it is not zero. The truth is that a part of the safety of our blood supply is reliant upon people being honest when they fill out forms for blood donation that they have not had situations that might put them at risk for a communicable blood borne illness, and if someone is going to the Red Cross as a means of testing, then they probably feel they had a risk, and will have to lie on the forms to give blood in the first place, and depending on when the person's risk was (say it was a week ago, but they are too antsy to wait to test, as people sometimes are) then they may potentially put infected blood into the blood supply. It can happen. Even with all the sensitive and advanced tests they use, if a person tests before the virus is detectable, then that allows tainted blood to go right into the system. Please do not believe that the blood supply is 100 percent safe, because it is not. Science is not perfect. That's why I think it's imperative to be mindful that this is not a safe or ethical means for testing.

I understand the importance of testing availability. It is vital for everyone to be able to access testing, and I know that it can be really tough to find low or no cost Hepatitis C testing. This is in no small part a failure of our health care system and the budgeting it receives from our government. By all means... write, call, knock on the office door of all of your state reps and officials and demand action be taken to help detect and care for Hepatitis C for everyone! But by testing through a blood donation system, there are risks not only in potentially infecting someone else, but if you do test positive, your results may never get to you. Be it a clerical error, or problem with the mail, you may never get those results, and relying on "not hearing anything" for a conclusive test result is not healthy. I have spoken to callers who were tested Hep C positive and told they had been for many years, and they'd given blood in the interrim and never received anything back informing them of their status, so it does happen.

I can understand that you feel passionately that everyone should have access to testing dansbrother, and I applaud your vigor in standing up for what you believe in, but I do ask that you consider that there are reasons this is potentially harmful not only to the donor (results lost in the system not getting back to them) and potentially to those receiving it as well (such as potential infection via blood donated by someone knowing they had a risk, but not waiting the window period to go). There are other options, but they are often a lot less convenient and harder to find.

Until policies can be changed, and some of our reps can get on the ball with regard to Hep C, as I said before, every US state has an HIV resource hotline, and service agencies dealing with HIV, and HIV agencies work very diligently in advocacy and prevention of Hep C as well, since coinfection with both is really common, and much more serious than a single infection of either. They can help to find resources to help you if you have little or no money or ability to travel for testing. At the very least, I would say call the Red Cross and tell them (anonymously) your situation, and find out if there is any possible way you can test with them when they are in town without putting the blood supply at risk. They might just appreciate your concern for the blood supply and if they don't let you test with them when they come around, they may be able to help you find a way you can. Another option is to contact your local health department. and fill them in on your situation.

To find an HIV hotline in your state, try googling the name of your state along with "hiv hotline" or calling the CDC's National HIV and STD hotline at 800-342-2437, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. HIV/AIDS Forum Moderator
HIV Hotline Counselor

Pink Grandma
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 2445
   Posted 4/13/2008 9:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello all,
I just want to tell you my story with donating blood.
When we went to war with Iraq the first time, I felt compelled to donate blood for the soldiers. I was married to my 1st husband who had had been living a risky life style.
But when I donated I did let them know about my 1st husband's lifestyle. They tested me. Apparently I tested negative, because they took my blood. I was honest up front.
Now I know that some people are not honest, but even back then, they were very confident that their testing was very accurate. But then again I live in the USA and can not say a thing about blood bank testing any other countries.
Maybe we can start grass roots projects to have infectious disease testing free and accessible for anyone. No matter what the disease.
If a disease is infectious then the governments of any country should not have an issue with it being free. It would be in the best interest of any country to stop or at least slow down the transmitting of the diseases.
So I agree with Talktome that we should start writing or emailing our congressmen and senators about it in the USA. If you live in other countries you need to do the same to your government officials.
All I know is that someone in government needs to be made aware of how important.... free and convenient testing for infectious diseases should be for anyone.

Okay for those of you who reside in the's

That website will direct you to your congressmen and senators and even the president. I will be sending my emails shortly. Hope you'll do the same.

Okay.....I'll get off my soap box now.

Everyone have a good night........thoughts and prayers to all.
Pink Grandma
Forum moderator-Hepatitis

When the going gets tough....the tough get going! Don't always know where I going but I get there anyways.

Post Edited (Pink Grandma) : 4/13/2008 10:57:51 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 254
   Posted 4/15/2008 5:16 AM (GMT -7)   
I contracted Hep C while in the Navy. In 1985 I had to have massive blood transfusions. I know there were not proper blood testing procedures for tainted blood back then. But I still would not advocate using the Red Cross for as a screening method.
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