2020 Nobel Prize for Medicine

The 2020 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded a few days ago to 3 scientists who discovered Hepatitis C. I think Hep C is fascinating, because the Hepatitis C virus was discovered in 1989, and by 2015, we had a cure! We may even be able to eradicate Hep C completely someday!

What is it? Hepatitis C is a virus that attacks the liver, which you can get through contact with blood that has Hep C in it. Unlike Hepatitis A, Hepatitis C can become a chronic infection that can lead to liver cancer.

How do I know if I have it? Half (or more) of patients with Hep C do not know they have it. However, a simple blood test ($7.85 at Noreta) can let us know. All adults over 18 are recommended to have a test at least once in their lifetime, so let me know if you’d like to schedule a lab visit to have this done.

How do I know if I’m at risk for Hep C? Here are the common risk factors:

  • Were born between 1945 and 1965, the age group with the highest incidence of hepatitis C infection
  • Have ever injected or inhaled illegal drugs
  • Have HIV
  • Received a piercing/tattoo in an unclean environment using unsterile equipment
  • Received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
  • Received kidney dialysis for a long period of time
  • Were born to a woman with a hepatitis C infection
  • Were ever in prison
  • How can I learn more Doc? Check out this article: https://familydoctor.org/condition/hepatitis-c/

Have a great week!
Melissa Boylan, MD, FAAFP