In the Spotlight
Hepatitis C: Test, Treat, Cure
Did you know that Veterans are more likely to have hepatitis C? The good news is that new treatments for hepatitis C are available at VA and are able to cure most people in about 12 weeks. If you haven't had a hepatitis C test, ask your VA doctor about it at your next appointment. Risk factors for hepatitis C include if you:
- Were born between 1945 and 1965
- Have ever used a needle to inject drugs, even if once and long ago
- Had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
- Are a health care worker who had blood exposure to mucous membranes or to non-intact skin, or a needle stick injury
- Were on long-term kidney dialysis
- Were born of a mother who had hepatitis C at the time
- Are a Vietnam-era Veteran
The test for hepatitis C is a simple blood test. If you are diagnosed with hepatitis C, effective treatment is available from VA. The new treatments are oral medications (no injections) and last about 12 weeks. Side effects during treatment are minimal compared to older treatments and much more effective- the new treatments are able to cure over 90% of patients. See a full list of risk factors.
If you know you have hepatitis C and haven't yet come in for treatment, please contact VA today. Hepatitis C can be damaging your liver if left untreated and can lead to cancer in some people. In most cases, only your regular copay is required for treatment. You can learn more about testing and treatment on the VA hepatitis website.
Veterans who have been cured are encouraging other Veterans to get treatment today. As one Veteran shares, "If you value life, if you value your wife, family, and grandkids, then you need to try this program. It will extend your life and you'll have more time with your family, which is the most important thing. Never give up hope."
Hepatitis C (Centers for Disease Control)
Should I get tested? (Veterans Affairs)
Created May 2, 2017