There is no current evidence to support any mode of PEP in preventing HCV acquisition following exposure to HCV.82
People presenting for PEP who may be at risk of HCV, either from prior risk exposures or from the risk exposure which prompted the presentation for HIV PEP, include:
- people who have shared needles and other injecting paraphernalia83
- occupational needle-stick or other sharps injury82
- people who have been sexually assaulted85
- those currently or previously incarcerated.83
For all such people, refer to Table 4.
Patients potentially at risk of HCV acquisition require baseline and follow-up testing for HCV.
The incubation period for HCV ranges from two weeks to six months, and approximately 80% of people do not exhibit any symptoms. If symptoms develop, they may include fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale faeces, joint pain and jaundice. Patients should be informed about these symptoms of acute HCV with advice to seek specialist review if these occur.83
Highly effective antiviral treatments are available, and early treatment is recommended if HCV seroconversion is detected.83
For further advice, see the national Hepatitis C Guidelines.