1 Aug 2020

Woman urges others to get tested for 'silent killer' Hepatitis C

8:00 am on 1 August 2020

A woman who had been living with Hepatitis C without knowing is urging others to get checked.

Blood samples with Hepatitis B and C viruses in a hospital in France

File photo. Photo: AFP / GARO / Phanie

Taranaki woman Lynne Shannholtzer had been feeling tired all the time, with dry eyes and mouth but after all the tests her GP had run nothing was coming up.

One day she spotted a Hepatitis C pop-up clinic and decided to get checked.

"I didn't know a lot about hep C but given how I was feeling I thought it couldn't hurt to get tested."

The five-minute test showed she did have the blood-borne virus, but two months after treatment she has been cleared of the virus .

"My advice to anyone who is feeling tired, has joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain or is in one of the high risk groups, is to talk to your GP about getting tested - it's quick, painless and results are almost immediate," Lynne said.

Taranaki DHB clinician Dr Nadja Gottfert said Hepatitis C is often described as the silent killer.

"Around 50,000 New Zealanders have it but many don't know as the symptoms can be subtle. It can lead to liver disease and/or cancer, and if left untreated it can be deadly."

Dr Gottfert said the most common way of getting the virus is through intravenous drug use, so anyone who has ever been injected even it was a long time ago should get tested.

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