Testing for Hepatitis C (HCV) at Southwest Care Center
Southwest Care Center offers free and confidential rapid hepatitis C (HCV) testing at our locations in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Our results are over 98% accurate and available in 20 minutes.
Individuals who test positive for hepatitis C at Southwest Care Center will receive immediate services and support from our trained testing counselors. Although our rapid tests are extremely reliable, a blood test will be performed free of charge and sent to a lab to confirm you results.
Testing positive for hepatitis C (HCV) antibodies does not necessarily mean that you are infected. However, roughly 80- 85% of people who have hepatitis C antibodies do have chronic hepatitis C. The good news is that even if you have chronic hepatitis C, Southwest Care Center’s treatment program is successful at curing more than 90% of HCV cases.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that can cause chronic liver disease. This virus can be transmitted through contact with the blood of a person who is infected with the hepatitis C virus. The majority of new infections occur in people who share needles. Baby boomers are also at risk due to high rates of transmission in the 1960’s through 1980’s, before infection control procedures were widely adopted in health care settings.
The biggest public health concern with hepatitis C is that many people get infected and don’t know it. While some people who get infected with HCV are able to fight off the virus, many people who are exposed develop a chronic form of the infection. Over time, chronic HCV can can cause major health problems, such as liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure, and even liver cancer.
Who should get tested for Hepatitis C?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the following people should be tested for HCV:
- Anyone who has injected drugs, even just once or many years ago
- Anyone with certain medical conditions, such as chronic liver disease and HIV or AIDS
- Anyone who has received donated blood or organs before 1992
- Anyone born from 1945 through 1965
- Anyone with abnormal liver tests or liver disease
- Health and safety workers who have been exposed to blood on the job through a needle stick or injury with a sharp object
- Anyone on hemodialysis