What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation and serious liver damage. In the United States injection-drug use is the most common mode of transmission.
How would I know if I have Hepatitis C?
Most of the time patients who are newly infected with HCV do not have any symptoms or have mild non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, or yellowing of the skin or eyes. The CDC now recommends universal screening for Hepatitis C for all U.S. adults. Two tests are necessary to confirm the diagnosis of Hepatitis C. The first test is to evaluate for the presence of Hepatitis C antibodies. The HCV antibody test will be positive if you have ever had Hepatitis C, however approximately 25% of patients who are infected with Hepatitis C will “self-clear” the infection and will not require treatment. Regardless of if you have successfully self-cleared HCV or if you have been successfully treated and cured from HCV, this test will continue to show positive for the rest of your life. A second test must be performed to confirm active infection and that is a quantitative HCV RNA, or a measure of the amount of hepatitis C virus in the blood.
If I don’t have any symptoms, why should I get treatment?
Even though Hepatitis C (HCV) is now curable, an estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with chronic HCV infection. I5-25% of individuals infected with Hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis. Cirrhosis of the liver increases your risk of developing liver cancer and loss of liver function.
Why Roaring Brook?
We are in a unique position at Roaring Brook to provide HCV treatment in an environment conducive to recovery, free of any stigma or judgements commonly associated with HCV. We are pleased to announce that we are now offering in-house HCV treatment for most patients. Our program involves a comprehensive medical intake, all required lab work, and thorough education throughout treatment. Our HCV treatment will involve peer support counseling at the beginning, middle, and end of treatment to either introduce or promote adherence to a healthy, substance free lifestyle. At Roaring Brook, we aim for all our patients to abstain from substance use, however due to the severity of this disease we will not require IOP for patients if they chose to abstain from substance use treatment or are no longer in active addiction.
Insurance now covers HCV treatment and many of the barriers that previously existed are no longer required by Medicare/Medicaid. There is no reason to wait. Schedule your appointment today.