Rates of Hepatitis C Continue to Be High in Langlade County Most community members are not aware that a neighbor or family member could be living with a disease called Hepatitis C. It is not easily spread, and the virus can destroy a person’s liver if not discovered early enough. It is silent, often not showing any symptoms to the person living with the infection. However, nearly 4 million Americans are living with Hepatitis C. Only recently has there been an easy test that can be done in an office with results given in 20 minutes. The Langlade County Health Department & Family Planning Health Services are teaming up with a local health care provider- ARCW, that has received a grant to help individuals identify if they have been infected and give them information on treatment options. ARCW works with the Northern Region to provide testing services for those people who may not have health insurance or a primary care provider. What is Hepatitis C? It is a disease caused by a virus that affects the liver. Why should I get tested if I think I might have been in contact with someone else’s blood? The symptoms of hepatitis-C are often mild, and many people experience no symptoms at all. Hepatitis-C is a serious illness; overtime, it can cause health problems like cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer. Because it stays in the body, people with hepatitis-C can transmit it to others. How is the virus spread? The hepatitis-C virus is present in the blood of someone who is infected. It is spread when blood from an infected person gets into the bloodstream of an uninfected person.
What are the ways that blood could be transferred from one person to another?
If you or anyone you know can say yes to any of the following situations, then they should be tested;
If someone shared drug injection equipment: needles, cookers, cotton or the water involved with the cooker.
If you ever used a shared needle to inject drugs, even one time many years ago.
By using a shared straw (for snorting) or razors, or pipes used with drugs.
If you received a tattoo with non-sterile needles or ink pots.
Those who have received a piercing with non-sterile equipment.
If you have had unprotected sex, especially with a current or former injecting drug user.
If your mother had hepatitis-C when she gave birth to you.
If you had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992. This would be important because the test for testing blood and> organs for hepatitis-C was not available until 1992.
The Langlade County Health Department and Family Planning Health Services are hosting a Free Hepatitis-C testing clinic on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 and Thursday, October 1, 2015. The clinic will run from 9 am- 12 pm at LCHD and 1 – 5:30 pm at FPHS, testing by appointment only. You need to call to schedule an appointment. Test results will be available in 20 minutes for free. Call the Langlade County Health Department now to make your appointment 715-627-6250.