MAY 19 free hepatitis C testing

National Hepatitis Testing Day

"Baby boomers represent 76% of people in the U.S. with the hepatitis C virus but most who are ill are unaware of their infection." -- Nancy Steinfurth, Hep C Connection

DENVER, May 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new cure is possible for tens of thousands of Coloradans infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) – a silent killer responsible for most cases of liver disease, cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer in the United States. But, the vast majority of those infected don't know they have the virus.

"The great news is that new treatments approved by the FDA in the last two years have up to a 95 percent cure rate," says Nancy Steinfurth, executive director for Denver's Hep C Connection. "Hepatitis C can now be cured in most patients."

People who have HCV may have no symptoms or they may have "flu-like" symptoms. They may have stomachaches, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weight loss, and in some cases jaundice – a yellow appearance of the eyes or skin.

On May 19 – Annual National Hepatitis Testing Day – Hep C Connection and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in partnership with other non-profits and public health organizations, will host free testing for anyone concerned they may have HCV. The fast-response test requires a quick finger prick, and results are returned in 20 minutes. Those who test positive will be given information and resources for follow-up testing and care. Hepatitis C is a blood-borne illness that has infected an estimated 70,000 Coloradans. To date, no vaccine has been approved for HCV and Denver's 2014 Health of Denver report shows deaths locally from HCV have increased sharply in the past 10 years. As many as 17,000 HCV related deaths occur annually in the United States. These rates are expected to peak between the years 2030 and 2035 at 36,000 deaths per year.

"Early detection is the best defense against the ravages of hepatitis C," says Steinfurth.
Anyone can be tested, but Hep C Connection and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment especially recommend testing for those born between 1945 and 1965. Also at risk are those who had a blood transfusion or a blood product like Rhogam before 1992, obtained a tattoo outside of a licensed facility, or injected or snorted drugs – even only once. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says men who've had sex with other men should be tested.

Free testing will be held at sites throughout Colorado. See below for test sites and locations. Also visit Hep C Connection's Step Up to Hep blog at: for more information about hepatitis in Colorado.

CONTACT: Dede Laugesen • Media Relations • 719-659-3121

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY: Hep C Connection executive director and hepatitis expert Nancy Steinfurth is available for on-camera, in-studio or telephone interviews. You can contact Steinfurth directly at 303-523-6131.
Hep C Connection 1325 S. Colorado Blvd., Bldg. B, Ste. 302, Denver, CO 80222
800-522-HEPC •

TEST SITES for May 19, 2015
Hep C Connection:
Western Colorado AIDS Project (WestCAP):  
Two test sites:
Northern Colorado AIDS Project (NCAP):
Boulder County AIDS Project (BCAP):
Boulder County Public Health:
Two test sites:
Hey Denver:
Denver Colorado AIDS Project (DCAP):  
Southern Colorado AIDS Project (SCAP):
Tri-County Health Department (TCHD):
Three test sites:
CDPHE, Hep C Connection, & SCAP:
Pueblo City-County Health Department & CDPHE:
Additional resources:

SOURCE Hep C Connection

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