Hep C Clinic
At EAMC’s Hep C Clinic, Ricardo Maldonado, M.D., specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of people living with Hepatitis C (Hep C). An infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver, Hep C can lead to liver damage and scarring called fibrosis. Hep C may also lead to cirrhosis of the liver.
Who is at Risk of Hep C?
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people today become infected with Hep C by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. However, there are many other ways to contract Hep C, especially people who were infected in the 1970s and 80s, before infection control standards became what they are today.
A one-time screening of all baby boomers (persons born between 1945 and 1965), regardless of risk factors, is recommended by the CDC.
Is it possible to have hepatitis C and not know it?
Yes, many people who are infected with the hepatitis C virus do not know they are infected because they do not look or feel sick.
Hepatitis C spreads through exposure to the blood of an infected person. Most people with Hepatitis C do not have symptoms. The screening test for HCV is a simple blood test.
To help diagnose the virus, we use a blood test called an antibody test, which detects antibodies to the virus in the blood. A positive antibody test means a person has been infected with Hepatitis C at some point.
The good news is, that while there is not currently a vaccine for Hep C, it possible to cure Hep C, which is why screening and catching the disease early is so important.
Current treatments usually involve 8-12 weeks of treatment and in most cases cure 90 percent of people with few side effects.