Hepatitis C is a virus that is spread by sharing of blood. It infects the liver and can cause serious damage, including increased risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
You can have hepatitis C for many years and not even know it. Testing is the only way to tell whether you have it or not. We have a simple blood spot test done on site that can give you the answer in minutes. This first "antibody" test is a screen. A second confirmatory test needs to be done called a "PCR" test.
The second test is needed because about 25% of people infected with hepatitis C will clear it without needing treatment. But the "antibody" test will always stay positive, even if the person was able to clear the virus with their own immune system.
For coverage under most drug insurance plans, you should have two PCR tests done at least six months apart.
The treatments now available in Ontario are very effective and have very few side effects compared to what people had to go through just five years ago. Treatment is as short as 8 weeks.
Dr. Holowaty is trained in treating hepatitis C through ECHOLiver.
Read more about hepatitis C and its treatments here.