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Why Is My Doctor Testing Me For Hep C?

Shannon Cheffet, DO, FAAP

In March of 2020, the US Preventive Services Task Force expanded their recommendations for universal screening for Hepatitis C to include anyone over the age of 18. Screening was recommended to be performed at least once in a lifetime or more frequently based on risks factors.  

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a caused by a blood-borne virus that can result in liver inflammation and increase the risk of liver scarring (cirrhosis), liver failure or liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). Hepatitis C is most frequently contracted by unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, transmission from mother to infant during birth, unprotected sexual intercourse, or injection drug use. In 2019, WHO estimated 290,000 people died from the complications of Hepatitis C (cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma). 1

How common is Hepatitis C?

The World Health Organization currently estimates that there are 58 billion cases of Hepatitis C worldwide with 1.5 million new cases per year. It is believed that there is a significant population of people with undiagnosed Hepatitis C, since this is largely asymptomatic during the early stages.1

How can I prevent Hepatitis C?

Maintain universal precautions to protect exposure to possibly infected blood or body fluids, included safe sex practices. Avoid practices that would increase your risk of exposure to used or unclean needles.2 There are numerous resources online if you wish to learn more about Hepatitis C screening and/or treatment options.  

Our focus at Lifewellness is prevention and early detection of disease, if you believe that you have not been tested for Hepatitis C or would like repeat screening, please ask your physician or provider to include this with your next blood work. 

  1.  World Health Organization, Hepatitis C Fact Sheet
  2. CDC Recommendations for Hepatitis C Screening Among Adults — United States, 2020 

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