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Charlottesville Nonprofit Offering Free Hepatitis C Testing - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville Nonprofit Offering Free Hepatitis C Testing

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The free hepatitis C testing is now available at the ASG offices on 10th Street in Charlottesville, as well as out in the community. The free hepatitis C testing is now available at the ASG offices on 10th Street in Charlottesville, as well as out in the community.

An estimated 3.2 million Americans live with chronic hepatitis C, and many of them don't know they have it. Now a nonprofit provides rapid testing and it's one of the first in the region.

Hepatitis C (HCV) is an infectious disease, generally transmitted through blood that attacks the liver. HCV is treatable, but the first step is getting tested. The Aids Services Group is now one of only two facilities in Virginia to offer rapid hepatitis C testing.

People can now learn their HCV status in 20 minutes with a simple finger stick.

ASG says someone should get tested if they are a baby boomer, received a donated organ or blood before 1992, have ever injected drugs, have ever tested positive for HIV or AIDS, have had multiple sexual partners or a sexually transmitted disease or if they've received tattoos or body piercings from unlicensed facilities.

"It's one of those unknown sleeper diseases that we've never done large-scale screening for, so we're really excited to be bringing this program to the Charlottesville area because it's one of those things doctors aren't really checking for and we know that there's a huge risk in our area," said Peter DeMartino, executive director of ASG.

ASG says approximately 75 percent of those infected can carry the disease for years or even decades without displaying any symptoms, so rapid testing is more important than ever.

The free hepatitis C testing is now available at the ASG offices on 10th Street in Charlottesville, as well as out in the community. ASG has a form on their website that anyone can fill out to make an appointment.

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