Free hepatitis C screenings offered in Louisville July 28

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The University of Louisville Hospital will be partnering with medical volunteers to offer free hepatitis C screenings later this month.

A statement from the university says screenings will be offered in 18 locations in and around Louisville and southern Indiana on World Hepatitis Day, Saturday, July 28. The screening involves a finger prick with results available in 20 minutes.

Officials say Kentucky has one the highest hepatitis C infection rates in the country - seven times the national average. The blood-borne illness can damage the liver if left untreated.

In the past, treating hepatitis C was a difficult process that lasted nearly a year and had multiple side effects, but officials say it is now easily curable and relatively inexpensive to treat.

There are some known risk factors for hepatitis C:

  • Born between 1945 and 1965. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends screening for all baby boomers.
  • A blood transfusion or organ transplant prior to 1992
  • Had blood filtered by a machine (hemodialysis) for a long period of time because kidneys were not working
  • IV drug use at any point in life, even if just once
  • Intranasal drug use at any point in life
  • HIV or hepatitis B infection
  • Healthcare workers exposed to blood through a needle stick or other contact with blood or bodily fluids
  • Exposure to contaminated tattoo equipment, including ink
  • Men who have sex with other men
  • Prior military service. “Older veterans are particularly at risk due to the use of the old ‘jet gun’ vaccinators

This spring, the state of Kentucky passed a law requiring all pregnant women to be tested for hepatitis C, as the disease can be passed from mother to baby. The law went into effect July 1. Kentucky is the first state in the nation to require universal hepatitis C screening in pregnant women.

Screenings will be offered from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, July 28. Hepatitis C experts will be available at all sites to answer questions and connect people with appropriate care.

Free hep C testing sites on July 28:

  • St. Matthews Mall (2 sites within the mall), 5000 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, 40207
  • Walgreens, 3980 Dixie Highway, Louisville, 40216
  • Walmart, 10445 Dixie Highway, Louisville, 40272
  • Walmart, 500 Taylorsville Road, Shelbyville, 40065
  • Walgreens, 152 N. Buckman St., Shepherdsville, 40165
  • Walgreens, 4310 Outer Loop, Okolona, 40219
  • Wayside Christian Mission, 432 East Jefferson St., Louisville, 40202
  • CVS Pharmacy, 1002 Spring St., Jeffersonville, IN 47130
  • CVS Pharmacy, 1950 State St., New Albany, IN 47150
  • Kroger, 10645 Dixie Highway, Louisville, 40272
  • Walmart, 7100 Raggard Road, Louisville, 40216
  • Southwest Family YMCA, 2800 Fordhaven Road, Louisville, 40214
  • Oldham County Family YMCA, 20 Quality Place, Buckner, 40010
  • Kroger, 2710 W. Broadway, Louisville, 40211
  • CVS Pharmacy, 3229 Poplar Level Road, Louisville, 40213
  • Walmart, 11901 Standiford Plaza Drive, Louisville, 40229
  • St. Stephen Church, 1018 S. 15th St., Louisville, 40210
  • Churchill Downs, Backside

Copyright 2018 WDRB Media. The Associated Press contributed to this report.  All Rights Reserved.