Millions of Americans are living with hepatitis C, a blood-borne disease that attacks the liver and if left untreated can cause severe health problems. But three in four people infected were born between 1945 and 1965, making LGBT elders particularly susceptible to the disease.
Fortunately, hep C can be diagnosed with a fast, easy test, and Chase Brexton’s Infectious Disease Center of Excellence has developed a comprehensive treatment program which successfully cured 98% of hep C patients who participated in it in 2016.
Details of this program and answers to pressing questions about the disease will be offered at an upcoming Lunch & Learn workshop hosted by The LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care. The workshop is scheduled for Thursday, January 11th from noon to 1:30 pm in the community rooms at Chase Brexton’s Mount Vernon Center (1111 North Charles Street, Baltimore).
Anyone interested in attending or receiving more information on this upcoming Lunch and Learn workshop may RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-837-2050 x1049.
We asked Christine Meehan, Hepatitis C Program Coordinator with Chase Brexton Health Care, to share some facts about the disease and how it can be treated.
What is hepatitis C? What health effects can it have?
Hepatitis C is a virus that is spread through contact with an infected person’s blood. Chronic, or long-lasting, hepatitis C can live in the body for many years without the person knowing they are sick. Hepatitis C affects the way our liver functions in the body; the liver is important for breaking down alcohol, medication, and food, and also acts to get rid of toxins in the body. Hepatitis C can cause your liver to become scarred and not work properly. It can even lead to liver disease and liver cancer if left untreated.
Why is hep C so prevalent among older adults?
Hepatitis C is most common among older adults because before the 1980s, we did not know a lot about viruses that could be transmitted through blood contact. We did not understand the importance of using gloves for medical procedures and vaccinations or proper hand-washing techniques.
How can Chase Brexton help me get tested? Is there a cure?
Chase Brexton offers free hepatitis C testing for non-patients as well as routine screening for patients who are at risk. Luckily, there is a cure for hepatitis C and Chase Brexton offers treatment to patients who are infected. Our care team of doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and case managers are eager to test, treat, and cure patients.
What do you hope LGBT elders take away from your presentation?
What I hope they take away would be knowledge. Approximately 3.5 million people in the US are infected with hepatitis C and don’t know they have it. I would like to educate the elders, so they can be properly tested, and if needed, treated and cured. Or, that elder can educate a friend, family member, or loved one who may be at risk and hasn’t been tested or treated.
For or more information about hepatitis C, please contact email@example.com, call 410-837-2050 extension 1049, or visit www.chasebrexton.org/hepC.
The LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care is to provide LGBTQ individuals and their families with welcoming access to expert health information and resources that will enhance wellness and quality of life. For more info, visit ResourceCenter.lgbt.
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