Testing, Treatment & Prevention

About Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C (Hep C) is a virus carried in the blood that can live outside of the body for up to three weeks. The disease is spread from one person to another through blood-to-blood contact, causing liver damage, liver cancer, or even death if it’s ignored.

Did you know that 1 in 30 people born in the U.S. between 1945–1965 (3.5 million people) have hep C and nearly half don’t even know that they have it?

Hep C was first discovered in 1989 after many “Baby Boomers” were already infected. In fact, this age group is 5 times more likely than other age groups to have hep C.

Due to lack of precautionary measures in the 70s and 80s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone between ages 52 and 72 gets tested for hep C.

A person could have hep C for 20 or more years without any symptoms. By the time symptoms do appear, liver damage is often advanced. Testing for hep C isn’t part of routine lab work, but it only takes a simple blood test to confirm that someone has the virus. Each year, more people are dying from hep C than from other reportable infectious diseases (including HIV), and there is a cure for hep C!

Adhering to medications is essential to be cured of the virus. There is always a risk of reinfection if an individual continues to engage in risk factors such as injecting drugs, sharing cocaine straws or engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors.

If you continue to engage in high-risk activities, talk to us first. Don’t give up on treatment.

Who should be tested?

  • Anyone born between 1945-1965 (baby boomer generation)
  • Anyone who injects, or has ever injected drugs, even once
  • Anyone who has ever used noninjectable, intranasal drugs (snorting from straws)
  • Anyone who has ever received a blood transfusion, blood products, or an organ transplant before 1992
  • Anyone who has been on long-term hemodialysis
  • People who engage in high-risk sexual behaviors, including sex workers
  • Anyone who has gotten a tattoo or acupuncture in an unregulated setting
  • Anyone who is incarcerated or has a history of incarceration
  • Anyone born to an HCV-infected mother
  • Anyone with HIV
  • Anyone who has unexplained chronic liver disease
  • Solid organ donors

If you have any questions, or want to get tested for hep C, give us a call at 454-HEPC!