HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Approximately 23,000 people in Hawaii are living with chronic hepatitis C, and baby boomers are among those most at risk for the infection that can lead to liver disease and cancer. The state Department of Health is urging this population to get tested on Thursday, National Hepatitis Testing Day, by offering hepatitis C point-of-care testing on an ongoing basis.
"Since hepatitis C is manageable and, in some cases, even curable, people can prevent liver cancer through early detection," said Thaddeu Pham, viral hepatitis prevention coordinator for the DOH, in a statement released Thursday. "We encourage all baby boomers, as well as other Hawaii residents at risk for hepatitis C, to get tested right away. Getting tested is the first step in liver cancer prevention."
All nine CVS Minute Clinics, located in select Longs Drugs stores on Oahu, will offer a finger-prick test – instead of a blood draw – to check for hepatitis C in people at risk, especially those between the ages of 51 and 71. Results will be available in 20 minutes.
This service is fully covered by most insurance plans with no out-of-pocket costs for members, the DOH said.
Hepatitis C is spread by blood-to-blood exposure, but is prevalent among baby boomers regardless of any known blood exposure, according to health officials.