It's hepatitis awareness month. To mark the occasion, Long's Drugs Minute Clinics are now offering screening for the disease at all its locations across Hawaii. This is in response to the high numbers of liver cancer patients this state has had. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hawaii has the highest rate of liver cancer in the country. Part of the reason, we have a high percentage of Asian born foreigners, native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders who have hepatitis and may not know it.
If treated, Minute Clinic nurse practitioner Rachel Lee said that hepatitis is manageable, but if left undetected, it can become deadly. There are 3 types of the disease. She said, "Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food or water or direct contact with an infectious person. It can cause mild to severe illness. Hepatitis B is usually an acute, short-term disease, but can be a chronic disease for those infected as children. It’s spread through contact with blood and other body fluids, most often from mothers to children. Hepatitis C is spread from blood to blood contact. The most common way to get Hepatitis C is through injected drug use, getting a blood transfusion prior to 1992, or being exposed to blood in some other way."
You can get screened without an appointment at all the Minute Clinics for a cost that ranges from $90 - $100, some of which can be covered by your health insurance. You can get evaluated at the following locations:
· Longs Aiea #9813, 98 1005 Moanalua Road, Aiea
· Longs Hawaii Kai #9185, 377 Keahole Street, Honolulu
· Longs South King #9954, 2470 South King Street, Honolulu