Hepatitis C – Are You at Risk??

Hepatitis C  (Hep C) is a severe viral disease which can lead to liver failure, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and death.  While there are several medications available to treat Hepatitis C, they are very expensive (up to $85,000 for a course of treatment) and there is no vaccine.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you be tested for Hep C if: (a) you were born between 1945 and 1965; (b) you received a blood transfusion before July 1992; (c) if you self-injected drugs, even one time or many years ago, or; (d) engaged in unprotected sex in the past.

Recently, some physicians (including my personal physician) have encountered patients who are testing positive for Hep C in their 60s, 70s and 80s.  One common factor among many of these patients was military service (especially during the Vietnam era) during which they received basic training immunizations using a “gun” which infused vaccine through the skin, without use of syringes.  If you flinched, the gun could tear the skin, causing bleeding.  The gun heads were not disinfected between uses.  If you have not been tested for Hep C, please ask your personal physician to order the test.

Dick Paronto, Adjutant.