Kupuna will soon be able to get a quick hepatitis C test at certain drug stores on Oahu, state health officials announced Thursday.

Hawaii has the highest rate of liver cancer in the country, and most of those cases are caused by viral hepatitis types B and C. An estimated 23,000 people in Hawaii having chronic hepatitis C, which can cause liver disease and cancer, according to a Department of Health news release Thursday.

The department partnered with CVS Minute Clinics and Hep Free Hawaii to offer hepatitis C tests starting May 19 at select Longs Drugs stores. It’s a finger-prick test for baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965. Results are ready in 20 minutes, and most insurance plans fully cover it, the release says.

CVS Minute Clinics in nine Oahu Longs Drugs stores will offer hepatitis C tests starting May 19.
CVS Minute Clinics in nine Oahu Longs Drugs stores will offer hepatitis C tests starting May 19. PF Bentley/Civil Beat

“Most people with hepatitis C don’t know that they have it,” Thaddeus Pham, state viral hepatitis prevention coordinator, said. “If undetected, hepatitis C can lead to liver disease, liver cancer, or even death. Since hepatitis C is manageable and, in some cases, even curable, people can prevent liver cancer through early detection. We encourage all baby boomers, as well as other Hawaii residents at risk for hepatitis C, to get tested right away. Getting tested is the first step in liver cancer prevention.”

More than one out of four people in Hawaii are baby boomers and should be tested at least once for hepatitis C infection, the release says.

To learn more, visit http://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/clinics/Hawaii or www.hepfreehawaii.org.

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