Hepatitis C - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Hepatitis C

(Source: WBRC Video) (Source: WBRC Video)

Dr. Edward Khan, Medical Director of Disease Control with the Jefferson County Department of Health, joined us to discuss Hepatitis C.

The Health Department offers new services - testing and treatment for hepatitis C. These services will be available to any Jefferson County resident regardless of insurance status - uninsured persons will be billed using a sliding scale. Patience need to bring picture ID, proof of income - i.e. paystub or W2 form, proof of residence, and proof of insurance if available.

Currently, JCDH only accepts BCBS, United Health Care, Medicare, and Medicaid Insurance. If the patient has any insurance, even if it isn't accepted by JCDH, they should still bring their insurance card because insurance may cover hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is very common in the American population and most people who have it do not know that they do. We currently only know "the tip of the iceberg" of all the people who have hepatitis C. Like high blood pressure, it is silent and goes unnoticed for many years, but it causes slowly progressive liver damage and over 20 to 30 years may cause advanced liver disease such as cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. The good news however, is that a simple blood test can diagnose hepatitis C early, before it can do any damage to the liver and it can be treated and cured with in most cases, a three month course of medicine which usually is as simple as one pill a day and has a 96-98% cure rate. Of note, the current treatments, in contrast to those used in the past, are both highly effective and very well-tolerated and have minimal or no side effects.

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