Do I Need to be Tested for Hepatitis C?
Most people who have hepatitis C don't know it
Many people assume that they do not have risk factors, or if they do not have symptoms, that they do not need to be tested for hepatitis C. The most dangerous thing you can do is assume you do not have hepatitis C or assume your doctor has tested you.
Talk to your doctor and ask to be tested, regardless of risk factors or lack of symptoms. Hepatitis C is known as "the silent disease" due to symptoms generally do not show up for years. Symptoms can often appear, but can mask has other ailments, leading people to think it is something else.
Hepatitis C is no longer only a Baby Boomer disease. Over the last decade, hepatitis C has dramatically increased in the United States, with younger generations being affected more than ever.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recently released updated recommendations for hepatitis C testing, including:1
- A one-time test is recommended for every person over 18 years old.
- Testing all pregnant women during every pregnancy
- Testing for everyone with risk factors and continued testing for those with ongoing risks.
Note: These are recommendations. Be sure to talk to your doctor and ask to be tested. Ask for a copy of your test report.
Benefits of testing
Testing for hepatitis helps you in numerous ways:
- Seek medical care for your liver and learn what condition your liver is in.
- Helps prevent associated conditions from occurring and how to identify and manage associated conditions if they are present.
- Get hepatitis C treatment as early as possible to prevent further liver damage from occurring. Treatment with new direct antivirals has a high cure rate of over 95%.
- Learn how to take the best care of your liver and what to avoid that harms your liver.
- Prevents the spread of transmitting hep C to others.
If you do not have medical insurance or you cannot afford your co-pay for treatment, there are patient assistance programs available to apply and get help for treatment.
Don’t forget about hepatitis C, hepatitis C doesn’t forget about you. Testing and early treatment can help save further liver damage from occurring and complications from associated conditions. Hepatitis C testing and treatment can help save your life. Get tested. Seek treatment. Get cured.