Free Hepatitis C testing available

From Press Reports

More than 5 million Americans are chronically infected with Hepatitis B & C, and 75 percent of them are unaware that they’re infected.
In recognition of Hepatitis Awareness Month in May, the Mississippi State Department of Health is offering free Hepatitis B and C testing at all county health departments.
People born between 1945 and 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with Hepatitis C. Since most of them have no symptoms, they continue to be unaware of their infection until long-term complications arise.
Over time, chronic Hepatitis C can cause serious health problems including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer and even death.
“Hepatitis C is an important diagnosis to make,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “With the availability of effective treatments for both chronic Hepatitis B and C, diagnosis and awareness are critical to preventing long-term complications of cirrhosis and liver cancer. In fact, Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer and the number one cause of liver transplants.”
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne disease transmitted through needle sticks, IV drug use and blood transfusions before 1992. It can also be transmitted through sexual contact, from mother to child at birth, and – rarely – from the sharing of personal items such as toothbrushes and razors.
Testing is also recommended for anyone with a history of injection drug use, blood transfusion or organ transplantation before 1992, long-term hemodialysis, HIV, signs or symptoms of liver disease, or those born to a mother with Hepatitis C.
For more information on Hepatitis C, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/hepC.