For the past several weeks we've been airing stories from our series, "At the Crossroads: The rise of hepatitis C and the fight to stop it." Maybe you've been wondering, hey, should I get tested? Where can I do that? And what's it like?
Wonder no more. Here's a collection of resources to get you started.
- List of free and low cost testing sites in Rhode Island, via the RI Dept. of Health.
- RI Defeats Hep C also lists some testing resources here; this is an advocacy and research organization dedicated to eradicating hepatitis C in Rhode Island.
- The Miriam Hospital offers free hepatitis C testing at its clinic on North Main street, on selected days. More information here.
- Here's a list of hep C testing sites in Massachusetts, courtesy the Mass. Office of Health and Human Services. Many of these are low cost or free.
- List of clinics in Connecticut that offer free and low cost hepatitis C testing, from the CT Dept. of Public Health.
- Learn more about hepatitis C from the CDC, including how testing works. In a nutshell, it's a two-parter. The first part is a blood test - this can be a finger prick and take only a few minutes - that looks for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus in your blood. If those antibodies are present, it doesn't mean you have the infection. It just means you were exposed to the virus at some point. In that case, you'll need to have a follow up blood test to see whether you've developed chronic hepatitis C.
- Check out this great video on rapid hepatitis C testing from the Rhode Island Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights.
- The journal of the Rhode Island Medical Society dedicated its July 2014 issue to hepatitis C and efforts to address it, and understand it better, in Rhode Island.
- AIDS Care Ocean State does a lot of prevention work - including testing and a free needle exchange service - around hepatitis C and other infectious diseases. Check out their resources here.
- Insurance plans vary, but most cover at least a hepatitis C screening test. Medicare made the decision to cover it recently, because hepatitis C affects more baby boomers than any other age group.
- Not sure you should be tested, or want to learn more? Ask your doctor!