What Does Hepatitis C Screening Really Entail?
The liver is put at a great deal of risk when one is said to be affected with the Hepatitis C virus and as a result of this, about 3.9 million people in the United States (alone) are living with the disease.
This could be understandable given that the symptoms appear only in very few and many are inclined to live with the virus for years without knowing they are carriers.
For this reason, the idea of going through regular screening should always be practiced but many find it difficult because no one wishes to even have the disease in the first place.
As a result of the antecedent that is associated with Hepatitis C, screening has been recommended because mere physical analysis cannot give adequate results on the status of a person.
The class of persons whom Hepatitis C Screening is recommended for
Everyone is expected to go through the Hepatitis C Screening from time to time and just like every other virus and diseases, some classes of persons are prone to be infected more than the others. These classes of persons include:
- Those who are currently under a medication that requires injecting drugs of various types
- Those who, at one time or the other, injected drugs into their system
- Adults who were born between the periods of 1945 to 1965
- People who used to be on long-term hemodialysis
- People who persistently have abnormal Alanine Aminotransferase Levels
- Patients who are infected with HIV infection
- People who, at one point or the other, had a blood transfusion or organ transplant
- Healthcare workers who were exposed to the Hepatitis C virus by a needle prick or any other form of exposure
- Babies who are born by women that have tested positive for Hepatitis C
How is the Hepatitis C screening conducted?
Many healthcare personnel might find it easy to diagnose various diseases but for Hepatitis C, it seems difficult because the patient may even experience no symptoms. The essence of this screening is to first identify and arrest the disease before it can show signs or develop to cause damage. It is important to state at this point that going through Hepatitis C Screening is not to diagnosis but detect the tendency of the virus. Added to this, two common forms of screening exist. They are:
- Selective screening. This involves taking people with high tendency of contracting the disease through the screening process. Such persons may be a health worker exposed to infected patients or close family member exposed to a person that is infected with the Hepatitis C virus.
- Universal screening. This screening, on the other hand, includes a larger class of persons, although, it could be restrictive too in certain cases. An example of this is the screening for a particular class of age or people from an entire community.
The issued guidelines for Screening according to the World Health Organization (WHO)
- A treatment for the condition that one is screened for should be made available in case one is positive.
- The facilities that can help diagnose and treat the medical condition should always be available.
- The natural history of the disease should be unfolded or explained so that people can understand it.
- Selective screening should be frequently done and not restricted to just once or few periods.
The screening is often performed by a measure of antibody to Hepatitis C Virus in the person’s serum. When one is tested positive in this circumstance, it does not amount to a diagnosis but a simple proof that the person has been exposed previously to the virus.
What benefits does a person enjoy for going through Hepatitis C Screening?
When a person goes through a screening and Hepatitis C is identified before it proceeds to advanced fibrosis or hepatocellular carcinoma, there stands a 90 to 100 percent chance that the patient would respond to treatment.
The major benefit of going through the screening is the ability to shield one from the chronic symptoms of Hepatitis C with the use of preventive methods. Going through the screening also helps one to ascertain his or her status thereby, removing the fear and anxiety which may have been built as a result of uncertainties.
The cost of Hepatitis C Screening
It is usually challenging to ascertain what a medical exercise would cost because of many uncertainties and differences insurance companies offer. Be that as it may, the screening should fall within the range of $45 to $80 for those who are uninsured and of course, lesser than that when insured.
Going through screening for Hepatitis C is a great idea that is advised for anyone that has the tendency to be infected. It consequently leads to clarity and offers caution to be taken concerning one’s health especially when one is infected which would slow down the progression of the liver disease.
Since Hepatitis C Screening is cost-effective, nothing then hinders one from going through it as soon as possible.