Nurse Dean Linzey at Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) in Reading, England has begun a project to diagnose hepatitis C among the Asian community in Reading. Linzey has trained 10 “champions” to test for the virus by taking a swab of saliva. They put the swabs into a solution, and lines, similar to those seen in pregnancy tests, appear in a matter of minutes, indicating a positive or negative result. The champions refer clients with positive test results to RBH for treatment.
Linzey determined a need to launch the project because hepatitis C is common in Asian countries due to the use of unsterile syringes. Individuals living in Reading who travel to Asia to visit family may become infected with the virus without realizing it.
Currently, the champions administer Community Hepatitis Surgeries (clinics) for women at Alana House in Southern Court, South Street every Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. They have already tested 15 women. Linzey hopes to train additional champions to test Asian men for the hepatitis C virus as well.