Hepatitis C, often referred to as 'hep C,' is a viral infection that primarily affects the liver. In the United States, an estimated are currently living with a chronic hepatitis C infection. Unfortunately, many of them don't even know they have it.
That makes regular screening for hep C critical. Without screening, the virus can go undetected for years, if not decades, leading to potentially serious complications, including liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Regular screenings can help identify the disease at an early stage, increasing the likelihood of a successful treatment outcome.
To combat this health crisis, aims to make hep C treatment more accessible and affordable to people across Pennsylvania and Ohio. But beyond just treating the disease, HepCMyWay is also committed to raising awareness about the importance of screening for hep C.
Here are 10 reasons why getting a hep C screening in 2024 should be a priority for everyone:
Reason 1: Early Detection is Key
The hepatitis C virus (HCV), if given the time, can cause severe damage to your liver. However, when a chronic HCV infection is diagnosed early, treatment can begin immediately before the virus has a chance to cause serious harm. In other words, by detecting the virus early through regular screenings, you significantly increase your chances of avoiding long-term health complications and achieving a successful cure.
Reason 2: Hep C is 'Silent'
The reason why chronic hep C goes undetected so often is that it's a 'silent' disease. This means there are typically no noticeable symptoms or warning signs until the virus has already caused significant damage to your liver. By getting screened, you can stop the chronic infection before it becomes symptomatic and take necessary steps to prevent further harm.
Reason 3: You Could Help Stop The Spread
Hepatitis C is . This can happen through sharing needles, razors, or toothbrushes with someone who has the virus, or by having unprotected sex with an infected person. Mothers with hep C can also pass the virus to their babies during birth. Because of these transmission routes, your decision to get tested for hep C isn't just about you—it's also about protecting those around you.
If you are living with hep C and unaware of it, you could unknowingly spread the virus to your loved ones or others in your community. Getting screened is the first step towards protecting others and preventing the spread of this potentially life-threatening disease. And, if you test positive, you can immediately take measures to prevent passing on the virus and start treatment.
Reason 4: You Might Be in a High-Risk Group
Certain groups of people are at a higher risk of contracting hepatitis C. These include those who have injected drugs, received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992, been on long-term hemodialysis, or were born to a mother with hepatitis C.
Today, most cases of hep C are associated with injection drug use. If you have a history of drug use, whether or not it’s ongoing, it’s important to get screened.
Reason 5: Hep C Will Damage Your Liver
Untreated Hepatitis C is a serious threat to your liver. The chronic hepatitis C virus infection can gradually harm your liver over a period of years, leading to severe liver diseases. Symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, jaundice, and more.
Reason 6: Getting a Hep C Test is Easy
At HepCMyWay, we make getting a hep C screening as easy and convenient as possible. After you fill out our , we'll work with you to schedule a time for you to visit a lab or, if necessary, send one of our experienced, compassionate phlebotomists to your location for a blood draw.
The sample will then be sent to a lab where a series of blood tests are conducted to determine the presence of hep C or its antibodies. A hepatitis C antibody test is vital in the initial detection of the virus in your bloodstream, indicating whether or not you have been affected by the virus at any point. If found positive for hepatitis C antibodies, a test for HCV RNA will be done to see if you currently have the virus.
Reason 7: Treatment for Hep C is Effective
Thanks to breakthroughs in medical science, the treatment for hep C has become tremendously effective. The first hep C treatment, an injection introduced in the late 1980s, helped of patients with hep C, with many relapsing later.
In 1995, doctors began using that injection in conjunction with the antiviral drug ribavirin, an oral medication. The combination was more effective than the injection alone, but still only helped around 40% of patients, at best.
In the 2000s, several more advancements were made, each improving the cure rate significantly. Speaking of...
Reason 8: Hep C Has a High Cure Rate
Today, hepatitis C is curable for the majority of people who receive treatment. The two that have a nearly 100% cure rate for all genotypes of the virus. This is an incredible improvement from the early days when less than half of patients could be cured.
With these new treatments, the chance of clearing hep C rises to almost 100% if you are treated soon after being infected. The longer you wait, however, the more likely it is that the disease will cause harm to your liver, making it vital to get tested and treated as soon as possible.
Reason 9: Give Yourself Some Peace of Mind
Living with unknowns, especially when it comes to your health, can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. Getting screened for hepatitis C provides you with the peace of mind that you are taking proactive steps toward understanding and managing your health.
The relief that comes from either knowing you are free from the virus or that you have the means to start effective treatment should not be underestimated. By choosing to get screened, you are choosing to take control of your health, prioritize your well-being, and ultimately, give yourself the peace of mind that you deserve.
Reason 10: HepCMyWay Makes it Easy
At HepCMyWay, we believe that getting screened and receiving treatment for hepatitis C should not be a luxury but a basic right. That's why we've made it our mission to make hep C screening and treatment more affordable and accessible. With us, not only do you get an easy and convenient blood test, but you also receive personalized guidance and support throughout your treatment journey.
We aim to make the journey of hepatitis C screening, testing, and treatment as simple and patient-friendly as possible. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3:
- Step 1: Fill out our patient-friendly form online, or give us a call at 866-WE-CURE-HEP-C.
- Step 2: We'll work with you to schedule a time for you to visit a lab for a blood draw, or we'll send one of our experienced phlebotomists to you.
- Step 3: If you test positive, we'll schedule a telemedicine appointment with you to create your treatment plan. If you decide to start treatment, your meds will be shipped right to your front door!
We're committed to making sure that everyone has access to the care they need for hepatitis C. With regular testing, early detection, and the right treatment, you can be on your way to living a healthier life.