Each year tens of thousands of Americans suffer from serious, often fatal, liver disease caused by Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. While other cancers are declining, liver cancer is on the rise with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) as the main contributor. There is an urgent need to address HCV in California, which according to the California Department of Public Health has an estimated 750,000 residents living with the virus.

As the largest provider of hepatitis treatment and prevention services in the region, Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) wants our patients to be informed about the facts of this potentially deadly disease.

  • Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
  • Hepatitis C is transmitted through contact with infected blood, and can be contracted through unprotected sex.
  • Transmission can also occur through sharing of personal items such as razors, toothbrushes or nail clippers that might cause tiny amounts of bleeding.
  • There is currently no vaccine available for Hepatitis C.

Symptoms of Hepatitis C do not usually arise until later stages so it is important to get tested if any of the following risks apply to you.

  • Individuals born between 1945 and 1965
  • Individuals with HIV infection
  • Children born to HCV-positive mothers
    • Should be tested after age 18 months
  • Patients with signs or symptoms of liver disease
  • Individuals with known exposures to HCV
    • Health care workers after needlesticks involving HCV-positive blood
    • Recipients of blood or organs from a donor later tested as HCV-positive
  • Individuals who have ever injected illegal drugs

Most importantly, Hepatitis C can be treated!  Available treatments are now much easier to take, and cure rates are higher when Hepatitis C is caught early.

Testing is recommended for anyone who is high risk for HCV. Routine testing for Hepatitis C is offered at all FHCSD clinic locations. If you have symptoms of Hepatitis C or feel you may be at risk, get tested! Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our caring providers: (619) 515-2449.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Image courtesy of healthline.com