It's sinister, this virus: hepatitis C can live in the body for decades before causing any noticeable symptoms. By then, the symptoms could be serious: at the worst, cirrhosis or liver cancer. Most people who have hepatitis C don't know it. In this case, what you don't know can hurt you, or even kill you.
Who should get tested: The CDC recommends everyone born between 1945 and 1965 be screened for hepatitis C. People born between those years are at highest risk for hepatitis C. But if you've ever shared needles for injecting drops, if you got a blood transfusion before 1992 (when we started screening the US blood supply), or have another risk factor, get tested!
What the test is like: There's a rapid hepatitis C screening test that just takes a finger prick, a drop of blood, and about 20 minutes. If that test shows your blood contains antibodies to the hepatitis C virus, that just means you've been exposed to it. About 15 - 20% of people spontaneously clear the hepatitis C infection. The rest go on to develop chronic hepatitis C infection. And you need a confirmatory (follow-up) blood test to check on that.
Where to get tested: Talk to your doctor about screening for hepatitis C. Or check out the locations on this map to find free or low-cost testing near you.
What are you waiting for?