Have you been tested for hepatitis C?

Practice prevention during Hepatitis Awareness Month


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May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19 is Hepatitis Testing Day. Doctors recommend testing adults ages 18 through 79 for hep C. If you haven’t been tested, talk to your provider the next time you check in and ask if the test is right for you.

Testing is key to hepatitis prevention and recovery.

Your provider can put in orders for testing so that the next time you’re on a VA campus you can stop by the lab for the test.

Hepatitis prevention

It’s also important to know about the prevention for viral hepatitis, which includes hepatitis A, B and C. You can prevent infection by:

  • Getting vaccinated. Vaccination is important for those at-risk including people with chronic liver disease, people who inject drugs and people experiencing homelessness. Learn about all the risk factors on hepatitis.va.gov.
  • Practicing safe injection drug use. Making sure that you don’t share injection equipment is very important. Talk to your provider about sterile syringe programs and safe injection practices, and visit https://www.cdc.gov/ssp/.
  • Practicing safer sex. Hep B can spread via sex. Hep C can also be spread by sexual contact, but the risk of this is low. Ask your provider about a prescription for condoms if you need them. People at risk for sexually transmitted infections can also talk to their provider about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), which can prevent HIV. Learn about PrEP at https://www.hiv.va.gov/products/prep-patient-factsheets.asp

View our handout to learn more about prevention: https://www.hepatitis.va.gov/products/abcs.asp


Elizabeth Maguire, MSW, is the communications lead for the HIV, Hepatitis and Related Conditions programs.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Wilford Britt Stevens    

    I am a Vietnam Veteran. I tested positive for Hepatitis C antibodies in 1989, at Las Cruces, NM.
    Have tested positive for the virus in 2015 at Albuquerque VA. I am planning a trip back to Albuquerque for treatment. Trying to get my wife a Visa.

  2. Mark Klouda    

    After you get the test make sure that you check to see how it went. I found out that I tested positive a year after I was test. Yes, they let me walk around for a year knowing that I was infected and did not tell me about it.

  3. Vincent Alit    

    Iam 75 yrs old and I thought I got the shot?

  4. Richard klug    

    Tried my clinic in Fed Way, WA and they told me to call back in July (which may be too late for my second booster shot for Shingles, not to mention Hep C testing.

  5. Martin Silas Levin    

    I was last tested 19 years ago, because I was working as a PCA.

  6. Hank Milnark    

    I had a Hepatitis blood test two years or so ago do I need to get another test now?

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      Hank, please talk with your provider at your next appointment about your risk factors and whether repeat testing may be needed

  7. Donna Mae Armstrong    

    Yes. While working as nurse & before trip to Kenya. Negative.

  8. John A Froemke    

    Hit this after looking over my records. Very nice, I appreciate these.

  9. Barry W Arcala    

    I have upcoming labs at the SE Clinic and I would like to add the Hep C and PSA to the blood test. Please arrange.

    [Editor: Please call your clinic; also, NEVER publish your sensitive information on the internet! I have deleted it from public view.]

Comments are closed.