The entire month of May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, and this week – on May 19, 2017 – is the fifth annual Hepatitis Testing Day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lead the charge on this event, with a call to action reminding health care providers and the public about the importance of getting a screening test for viral hepatitis.
All adults born between 1945 and 1965 should have a one-time screening test for hepatitis C infection. This age cohort is five times more likely to have this disease, although anyone of any age can be infected. In fact, of the people with a current hepatitis C infection, most of them (75%) were born in the Baby Boomer years. If left untreated, hepatitis C can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even be fatal.
In addition to the age-based screening recommendation, there are other indicators that a person should get tested for hepatitis C infection:
- History of IV drug use
- Blood transfusion before 1992
- Unprotected sex with person known to be infected with hepatitis C or any questionable sexual encounter
- Needle stick from a potentially unsterile needle
- History of nasal drugs (even if it was only one time 20 years ago)
- Anyone who has lived with someone who has hepatitis C
Getting tested is the first step. Next, for those who have this disease, is to get treatment. Today’s treatment options for hepatitis C are more successful at curing patients than at any time in the past. If you have any questions, please give my team of clinical pharmacists and nurses a call.
Source: Hepatitis Testing Day | BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy