Highlands Hepatitis C Clinic Provides Opportunities for Many

July 7, 2017

Prestonsburg, KY – Local providers, health departments, and public health officials are working diligently to increase awareness and provide detection and treatment of Hepatitis C, and for good reason. Kentucky ranks the highest in the US for Hepatitis C infections. In 2016, the CDC released a map that ranks counties throughout the U.S. on their risk of a rapid spread of HIV/Hepatitis infection among people who inject drugs; Kentucky holds 54 of the 220 most vulnerable counties across the nation. 

Highlands Health System now offers a specialty Hepatitis C clinic that brings together physicians, pharmacists, and nurses trained to ensure patients get the right treatment, follow-up, and education about the disease. In the past, patients with Hep C had a very low chance of curing their disease, and treatment was often painful. Now with the newest advancements in medicine, Hepatitis C is frequently totally eradicated.

Kristal Vaughan, Program Coordinator of the Hepatitis C clinic, explained that the goal of the program isn’t just treating Hep C, but combating a possible epidemic. “Highlands Health System began this clinic in the hopes of decreasing the alarming number of people that currently have the disease and assist in reducing the spread.  We want to educate the customer and the public about the disease and risks involved.”

Patients of Highlands Hep C Clinic are treated comfortably in an outpatient setting. Treatment often includes use of daily antiviral medications, routine follow ups and a program that monitors the disease and healing of the liver closely.

You should get tested for Hep C if you fall under any of the following categories:

 

  • You were born between 1945 and 1965
  • You have used injection drugs now or in the past
  • You have snorted drugs nasally now or in the past
  • You were treated for a blood-clotting problem before 1987
  • You received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
  • You are on dialysis for severe kidney disease
  • You have abnormal liver tests or have liver disease
  • You have been stuck with a needle or other sharp object that exposed you to an infected person's blood (applies to health care or public safety workers)
  • You have HIV
  • You have non-professional tattoos

If you feel that you have been exposed, you should call (606) 886-7664 for a Hepatitis C screening and treatment information. A physician referral is not required to be evaluated for treatment.

 

You can learn more about Hepatitis C, the risks, treatments, and more at http://www.hrmc.org/services/hepatitis-c-clinic.173#/tabs/about-hep-c.