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Understanding your Hepatitis C risks

Understanding your Hepatitis C risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people born from 1945–1965, the Baby Boomer Generation, are five times more likely to have Hepatitis C than other adults. While anyone can get hepatitis C, three quarters of people infected with Hepatitis C were born from that time period.

Intravenous drug use is a continuing factor in exposure to Hepatitis C, but unsafe medical practices of the past, prior to universal precautions, is most often the source of exposures for Baby Boomers. The disease was spread primarily in the 1940’s and 1960’s. Many people can live with Hepatitis C for decades without symptoms or feeling sick. Testing is critical so those who are infected can get treated and cured.

Hepatitis C can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer and the virus is the leading reason for liver transplants. Some infected people are able to get rid of the Hepatitis C virus, but most people who get infected develop long-term infections. Treatments are now available that can cure Hepatitis C.

The CDC does encourage people born in this period of time to get tested for the virus. If you didn’t know, Campbell County Health Wellness offers the Hepatitis C Antibody test to screen for the blood-borne virus. This test looks for antibodies to the Hepatitis C virus and can tell a patient if they have ever been infected with the virus. A reactive, or a positive result, means that Hepatitis C antibodies were found in the blood, and a person has been infected with the Hepatitis C virus at some point in time. A reactive antibody test does not necessarily mean a person currently has Hepatitis C. Once someone has been infected, they will always have antibodies in their blood. Ask your doctor if this screening is something you should consider taking.

Wellness daily blood screenings are available Monday-Friday from 6-11 am at 1901 Energy Court, Suite 125, located behind Wendy’s and Common Cents in Gillette, Wyoming. Your results can be faxed quickly to your physician and are mailed directly to your home in just a few days. Walk-ins are welcome! To learn more about Wellness, please visit www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.

Rachel Conrad, PBT, CPT, MA, works at CCH Wellness as a Technician, Phlebotomist and Health Coach.