Joint Base Charleston

 
News Search

Naval Health Clinic Charleston to screen patients for Hepatitis C

By Naval Health Clinic Charleston | March 22, 2016

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON,S.C. -- Naval Health Clinic Charleston will screen all NHCC patients born between 1945 and 1965 for Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus. People born between Jan. 1, 1945 and Dec. 31, 1965 are at higher risk for the disease.

In accordance with a Bureau of Medicine initiative, and in conjunction with recommendations by the US Preventative Services Task Force, the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, and the Infectious Disease Society of America, NHCC has automatically enrolled all patients born between 1945 and 1965 in this voluntary screening initiative. 

NHCC patients can visit the NHCC laboratory at their convenience to be tested. This one-time blood test is completely voluntary. Patients who want to opt out may contact their providers, who will answer any questions and cancel lab orders.

More than 3.5 million people in the U.S. have a chronic form of Hepatitis C. The disease is usually spread when blood from an infected person enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. However, a person can get the virus through less common means, such as, sharing personal care items like razors or toothbrushes, or sexual contact with a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus.

For some, the disease is a short-term illness, but for 70 to 85 percent of people who become infected, it becomes a long-term chronic infection that causes serious health problems such as liver damage, cirrhosis and even death. Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for a liver transplant in the U.S.

People can live with Hepatitis C for decades without feeling sick and pass it along to others. In fact, most people don't have any symptoms. And, there's no vaccine to prevent it. The good news is, chronic infection is now treatable with medication.

In addition to those born between 1945 and 1965, others who should be screened include those currently injecting drugs; have ever injected drugs; have certain medical conditions - such as chronic liver disease and HIV or AIDS; and those who were prior recipients of transfusions or organ transplants before July 1992. A simple blood test can detect the virus and new medicines are now available.

For more information, patients can contact their primary care physicians through secure messaging, at https://app.relayhealth.com.

Find out more about Hepatitis C at www.cdc.gov.


Staying Connected