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November 14, 2018

KC CARE has the expertise to help you navigate a Hep C diagnosis and treatment.

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Hepatitis C Testing and Treatment

A Hepatitis diagnosis can be scary at first. But KC CARE Health Center has the expertise to help you navigate a Hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment.

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by one of three viruses. Not all adults have been vaccinated for Hepatitis A or B.

Who should be tested for Hepatitis C?

The CDC recommends testing for:

  • EVERYONE born between 1945 and 1965
  • Current or former injection drug users
  • People with tattoos from unregulated sources
  • Anyone receiving a blood transfusion before 1992 or clotting factor concentrates before 1987
  • Anyone else with known exposure to Hepatitis C

Is there a vaccine for Hepatitis C?

There is currently no vaccine for the Hepatitis C virus, but it is treatable. Keep reading to learn how KC CARE can help.

How do you get Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from an infected person gets inside the body of someone who is not infected. Before 1992, Hepatitis C was commonly spread through blood transfusions or organ transplants. Today, the most common way is through the sharing of needles or other equipment to prepare or inject drugs.  Less common ways to contract Hepatitis C include sharing personal care items, such as razors or toothbrushes; having sex with someone that is infected; and receiving tattoos or body piercing from unregulated settings. An infected mother can also spread it to a child during birth.

Hepatitis C is not spread by sharing utensils, hugging, coughing, sneezing, kissing, or holding hands.

What are symptoms of Hepatitis C?

Acute Hepatitis C (when you first contract the virus) ranges from no symptoms at all to a mild response to the virus, such as fever, fatigue, joint pain, jaundice, nausea or vomiting. After the initial acute phase, there are usually no noticeable symptoms from Hepatitis C for many years. However, over time, many people with chronic Hepatitis C will develop chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, cancer and eventually death from the disease.

Can I get a Hepatitis C test at KC CARE Health Center?

Yes. KC CARE Health Center will encourage you to get tested at your medical appointment if we know that you fall into one of the categories above. You may also request a Hepatitis C test during your medical appointment or by walking into our Midtown location (at Broadway and Armour) and asking for a test through our CATS (Counseling and Testing Services) Clinic Monday through Friday.

Is Hepatitis C treatable?

Yes, in most cases, Hepatitis C can be treated with medication. Advances over the last few years in these medications make them more tolerable and more effective than ever before. Even if you were treated in the past with older medications unsuccessfully, treatment is likely to be effective for you today. KC CARE Health Center is a leading treatment center of Hepatitis C in the Kansas City area. If you already know you have Hepatitis C, you can make an initial treatment appointment by calling our Hepatitis C nurse at 816-617-2161 or emailing hepc@kccare.org. Please note: KC CARE will complete a confirmatory test for Hep C upon your first visit.

Does Hepatitis C always require treatment?

About 1 out of 8 people that contract Hepatitis C will clear the virus on their own without treatment. This means that your immune systems will fight the virus, and you will not become infected.

Can I get Hepatitis C treatment at KC CARE Health Center?

Yes. If you test positive for Hepatitis C at KC CARE or elsewhere, we can provide you with Hepatitis C treatment. Our team of medical staff will help you determine the right treatment plan for your Hepatitis C infection. Treatment usually takes 12-26 weeks. During this time, you’ll need to come to KC CARE for regular checkups.

A simple and effective treatment for Hep C is available but expensive. If you are uninsured or your insurance will not cover Hepatitis C treatment, our staff will assist you with enrollment in patient assistance programs (PAPs) to access vital medications. Our team works with local pharmacies to get the needed medications approved through various insurance providers, and they assist low-income or uninsured patients with the complex process to get the medication at no cost from pharmaceutical companies.

If you or someone you know needs Hepatitis C testing or treatment, contact KC CARE at hepc@kccare.org Get tested today.