What is Hepatitis C?
- Hepatitis C is a virus that can cause damage to the liver.
- It is spread by direct blood to blood contact.
- Hepatitis is a general term for inflammation of the liver. There are other things that can cause your liver to get inflamed:
- Heavy alcohol use
- Prescription medication
- Hepatitis A and B viruses
- Herbal medication
Hepatitis C and the Liver
When someone contracts hepatitis C, two things can happen:
- The immune system can clear the virus within the first 6 months or
- It can become a chronic infection that leads to scarring of the liver
People can develop severe scarring of the liver called cirrhosis and can eventually develop liver failure or they can develop liver cancer.
What do my test results mean?
Hepatitis C antibody test: A positive test result means you contracted hepatitis C at some point in your life. This result however does not detect if you are still infected. Your doctor will need to do further testing.
HCV RNA: this is a test that will be done by your doctor to detect the virus in the blood. If this test detects the virus then you are living with hepatitis C and you have long term, chronic hepatitis C.
Who should get tested for hepatitis C?
- People born between 1945-1965
- IVDU (Intravenous Drug Use)
- Blood transfusion
- Rough sex
- MSM ( men having sex with men)
Is there treatment for hepatitis C, is there a cure?
- Yes, there is a cure for hepatitis C.
- The new treatment consist of pills only with cure rates of 96%.
This means that the majority of people can be cured. There are fewer side effects and you will only need 8-12 weeks of therapy or longer if you have been treated for hepatitis C before.
Before Your Visit
Call 1-877-WELL ALL (1-877-935-5255) and ask to speak with a hepatitis C clinic coordinator to schedule your appointment.
Hepatitis C At CWH
- Blood work will be drawn to determine your hepatitis C status and you will be given a follow-up appointment to meet with the Infectious Disease Doctor.
- During the visit with the provider, you will receive prevention education, education on sexually transmitted diseases and condoms, and how to take medication and manage medication side effects.
- We now offer testing for hepatitis C and HIV.
- We offer onsite behavioral health specialist, drug and alcohol counseling.
- Vaccinations for hepatitis A and B and Influenza.
- Referrals for research trials.
What Costs Should I Consider?
For each hepatitis C clinic visit with your provider, you will be assessed a visit fee.
- If you are uninsured you will be assessed fees for the visit, medications and labs. The fees are based on your income and family size.
- If you have insurance and hepatitis C treatment is covered, you will be required to make a copay for the visit, medication and any labs.
How Can I Pay for Hepatitis C Medications?
- There are pharmaceutical company medication assistance programs for specific drugs used to treat hepatitis C. Talk with your CommWell Health hepatitis C clinic coordinator about these programs.