B.C. residents urged to get tested for hepatitis C
Screening for hepatitis C is simple and a result can be returned in 20 minutes.
Published Tuesday, July 23, 2019 4:18PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 24, 2019 8:39PM PDT
B.C. has one of the highest rates of new cases of hepatitis C per year and it’s estimated there are about 80,000 people in the province who are infected with the virus.
According to the World Hepatitis Alliance, nine in 10 people living with viral hepatitis have no idea they have the life-threatening disease. It can take decades for symptoms to become evident.
That’s why special screening events have been set up at London Drugs this week to help screen people for the virus and to help educate folks about who is at risk.
"Hepatitis C is usually transmitted through body fluids. Sometimes it can be through tattoos, piercings, sometimes it's needle stick injuries if you work in health care, possibly in contact with body fluids and some people just don't know that they have it," said London Drug pharmacist John Wong.
Baby boomers are most at risk but it’s also advised that pregnant women and others who may have come in contact with someone with the virus also get screened.
The screening test involves a pin prick on a finger and it takes about 20 minutes to return a result. If it’s positive, you’ll be referred to your family physician or another doctor for further blood work.
The screening costs $24 but your doctor can also order the test for you for it to be covered under MSP.