Nearly 3 million Americans have hepatitis C, with the highest rate among Baby Boomers. Diagnosis takes two blood tests, one to check for hepatitis C antibodies and the other to check for the virus itself. New medications are available that makes treatment easier and more effective than ever before.
Like many hepatitis C patients, Anthony Lo Russo, 64, lived with the virus for years before he knew he had it. Even after a routine blood test flagged it in 1995, he eschewed hep C drugs because of their side effects. “I felt fine, so I waited,” Lo Russo said.
After the 2013 introduction of kinder drugs, Lo Russo agreed to a standard 16-week treatment. Two weeks into it, he heard the word that’s music to hep C patients’ ears; his blood was “clear” of hep C. He was cured.
“I’m happy to be alive,” said Lo Russo, of Lake Worth, Florida. He bowls in three leagues, swims and chats with fellow patients on Facebook.
About 2.7 million Americans have hep C (or “hep C virus” or “HCV”), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So high is the rate among baby boomers that doctors urge that everyone born between 1945 and 1965 be tested.
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