Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The most common way to get hepatitis C is by coming into contact with the blood of someone who has it.
It’s important for certain people to get tested for the hepatitis C virus. If you answer yes to any of these questions, talk to your doctor about getting tested:
- Were you born between 1945 and 1965?
- Did you have a blood transfusion or organ transplant (get blood or organs from someone else) before 1992?
- Have you ever injected drugs?
- Do you have chronic liver disease, HIV, or AIDS?
Many people who have hepatitis C live for years without feeling sick. But the virus can still damage the liver – even when there aren’t any symptoms. You could also spread the virus to others without knowing it.
The only way to know for sure if you have hepatitis C is to get a blood test. If you have hepatitis C, treatments may be able to help you live a longer, healthier life.
What about cost?
Under the health care reform law, insurance plans must cover hepatitis C testing for adults at higher risk and everyone born between 1945 and 1965. You may be able to get tested at no cost to you. Talk to your insurance company to find out more.
What do I ask the doctor?
Visiting the doctor can be stressful. It helps to have questions for the doctor or nurse written down ahead of time. Print this list of questions, and take it to your appointment.
- Do I need to get tested for the hepatitis C virus (HCV)?
- What puts me at risk for hepatitis C?
- How will you test me for hepatitis C?
- How long will it take to get my test results?
- How will I find out my test results?
- If I have hepatitis C, what will happen next?
- Can you give me some information about hepatitis C to take home with me?