While millions of Americans are living with Hepatitis C, but because testing for the disease is not part of standard blood work, many of these people have no idea they are infected.
In order to promote individual and community knowledge, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health is joining other local and state agencies across the county to celebrate Hepatitis Awareness Month.
As a part of this effort, the HIV Prevention Program is offering free Hepatitis C testing every Friday this month (May 6, 13, 20 and 27) from 8:00 to 11:30 amand 1:00 to 5:00 pm (222 S. Campbell, Room 105)
“Knowing your status is an important part of your health and prevention,” said Irene Ovalle-Valdez, Public Health Supervisor. “Hepatitis C is curable and treatable. The sooner you know the more you can protect your liver and life.”
Hepatitis C is a leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer, and is especially dangerous because people can live with the disease for decades without having symptoms or feeling sick.
Those with increased need for testing include:
- Everyone ages 51-71 who hasn’t already tested for HEP C
- Anyone who received a blood transfusion/products or organ transplant prior to 1992
- All persons who are living with HIV/AIDS
- Current and Former IV (Injection) drug users
- Patients with signs or symptoms of liver disease (e.g., abnormal liver enzyme tests)
- Children born to infected parents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its Division of Viral Hepatitis is leading a national campaign called Know More Hepatitis. The campaign aims to increase awareness and encourages people born from 1945-1965 to get tested for Hepatitis C.
Many people can get lifesaving care and treatment. Knowing you have Hepatitis C can help you make important decision about your health. Successful treatments can eliminate the virus from the body and prevent liver inflammation, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.