Nationwide screening program for HCV – “Test for HCV – a simple step to health” – covered by the Polish HCV Expert Group, Polish Hepatological Society, Polish Society of Epidemiologists and Doctors of Infectious Diseases, Star of Hope Foundation and Hepatology Coalition, implemented since 2016 . Its aim is to increase the detection of C virus infection among the population and to reduce complications and reduce the mortality associated with chronic infection, and in the long term to minimize its occurrence.
HCV infection causes hepatitis C (Hepatitis C). It is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the liver, which in about 20% of patients after many years can lead to complete destruction of the organ: cirrhosis, insufficiency, and finally to hepatocellular carcinoma. It is estimated that approximately 150,000 people are infected with HCV in Poland.
The virus is transmitted through contact with blood and sexually. The infection may occur when blood of a person infected with HCV gets into the bloodstream of a healthy person. Therefore, all people who have ever undergone various treatments are exposed. Situations disturbing the continuity of tissues may occur during:
– medical procedures, e.g. surgery, blood transfusion (especially before 1992);
– minor outpatient procedures, e.g. dental procedures;
– cosmetic and beauty treatments, eg tattooing, aesthetic medicine treatments, acupuncture;
– intravenously, even incidentally, intoxicants.
It should be remembered that during long-term, often asymptomatic course of hepatitis, debilitating changes take place in the patient’s body, and the patient himself – unaware of his infection – may be a source of new infections.
The only way to avoid the consequences of the presence of HCV in the body is its early diagnosis and effective therapy. The first step is to perform a quick and easy-to-use cassette test, which will allow you to get the result after just a few minutes.
Such free cluster tests receive institutions that participate in the National Screening Program.