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Hepatitis C Clinic

TLRMC Specialty Clinic Hepatitis C Clinic

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a viral infection which causes a multitude of health problems and can lead to permanent liver damage and cirrhosis. Patients with Hep C may experience poor appetite, weight loss, fatigue, yellowing skin, bruising and/or bleeding easily, dark urine, itchy skin, mental confusion, and even ascites (a dangerous build-up of abdominal fluid) if the infection progresses.

15% of people who become infected with Hep C are able to fight off the virus and recover spontaneously.

85% progress to chronic infection, which can lead to life threatening liver problems. 3.5 million people in the U.S. are currently living with chronic Hep C. 75% of these people are baby boomers (born between 1945-1965) and many don't even know that they are infected.

How did I become infected?

Hepatitis C is transmitted when blood that is contaminated with the virus comes into contact with the bloodstream of an uninfected person. People who inject drugs are at the highest risk of contracting Hep C...sharing needles is the single largest risk factor. Other risk factors include: Being HIV positive; extended stays in prison; having tattoos done by unlicensed persons; unprotected sex and/or multiple sexual partners; and being a healthcare worker.

Why should I get treatment?

Chronic Hep C causes liver damage and cirrhosis, which can lead to liver cancer and/or complete liver failure. Getting treatment helps protect others. People can pass Hep C to their sexual partners and mothers can pass it to their children during pregnancy or childbirth.

During your first appointment, someone will meet with you one-on-one to discuss all aspects of treatment. If you agree to the terms of treatment, we will schedule you an appointment to get blood drawn. If the blood work shows that you are eligible, treatment will begin at a third appointment.

Hepatitis C treatment information

All treatment options are oral medications taken once or twice daily for 8-16 weeks. Appointments are scheduled monthly to get prescription refills and take blood work to monitor your liver enzymes/viral load. Once treatment is complete, blood work will be taken one more time to make sure the infection is gone.

Approximately 95% of people are cured after one course of treatment.

Insurance

Most insurance companies cover the entire cost of Hep C treatment one time during a person's life.

After treatment, what can I do to avoid becoming re-infected?

Seek treatment for substance abuse disorders and abstain from using needles for non-medically prescribed uses. Practice safe sex methods.

Be conscientious of situations which may lead to being exposed to needle sticks or blood. If you think you might have been exposed to Hep C, schedule an appointment with your doctor to be tested.

For more information call 270-259-9506 or email HepCClinic@tlrmc.com