Hepatitis C

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. It can be described as “acute,” meaning a new infection, or “chronic,” meaning lifelong infection.

HCV is spread by contact with infected blood. Today, most people become infected with HCV by sharing needles or other equipment to prepare or inject drugs. People born from 1945–1965, sometimes referred to as “baby boomers,” are also at risk.

Many people with hepatitis C do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected. If symptoms do occur, they could include fatigue, fever, nausea, decreased appetite, muscle or joint pain, dark urine, grey-colored stool, and yellow skin and eyes.

Hepatitis C can cause serious liver damage, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. It is the number one reason for liver transplants in the United States. Liver damage from hepatitis C can be prevented by early diagnosis and timely access to care and treatment. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C; however, hepatitis C can be cured and treated!

Testing and treatment for hepatitis C

NKY Health has a new program that provides free testing, as well as referrals for those who need treatment. For a free hepatitis C test, call to make an appointment at your county health center.

Schedule your hepatitis C test online*

To schedule an appointment at the Boone County Health Center, please request an appointment here.

To schedule an appointment at the Kenton County Health Center, please request an appointment here.

To schedule an appointment at the Campbell County Health Center, please request an appointment here.

*Testing appointments are available on Mondays between the hours of 8 am and 12 pm only.

For more information, a list of free community testing events, or to schedule a community testing event, contact:

Linkage to Care Coordinator, Susan Guthier, RN, BSN

office: 859-363-2090 | cell: 859-279-5375

If you learn that you are infected with hepatitis C, it is important that you receive proper medical care. A health care provider can monitor your liver disease. They can also give you advice on how to take care of your liver and information on hepatitis C treatments. Hepatitis C is curable in many cases. Medications currently available for the treatment of hepatitis C are more successful, have fewer side effects and the length of treatment is shorter (8-12 weeks).

Additional Resources

For more information on hepatitis C, visit https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/

Benefind allows Kentucky’s families to easily access public assistance benefits and information 24/7 through an online application and account. For more information, visit: https://benefind.ky.gov/

For information on signing up for health insurance, visit the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange at https://kyhbe.ky.gov/general/agentorassister

For local help, including one-on-one meetings, to sign up for medical benefits, contact the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission (NKCAC). The website is https://www.nkcac.org/

For resources on substance use treatment, visit findhelpnowky.org, or call the NKY Addiction Helpline at 859-415-9280.