GALLIPOLIS — With approximately 17,000 new cases of Hepatitis C diagnosed each year, Integrated Services for Behavioral Health has partnered with the Central Outreach Wellness Center to bring the proper testing and medications to those in need in Gallia County.
“The Central Outreach Wellness Center (COWC) is an infectious disease practice made up of four clinics in the North Shore, Washington; Aliquippa and Erie Pennsylvania. Clinic office in Ohio to be announced. We specialize in the cure for Hep C and treatment for HIV,” according to a news release.
The Hep C Cure Bus will be in Gallipolis at the Integrated Services for Behavioral Health office — 1591 State Route 160 — on Friday, Dec. 17, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“It’s private, it’s really fast and it’s an extremely reduced cost, if not free for the cure,” said Emily Fultz, Gallia coordinator for Integrated Services for Behavioral Health
Services are available to any Gallia County resident.
According to COWC, “Hepatitis C is a virus that causes liver inflammation, leading to serious liver damage, like cirrhosis.”
Fultz said while many hepatitis testing requires active sobriety, the COWC does not require that.
“There are no stipulations, we will test you. They do not have to be sober to do this, if they’re still in active use, they can still do [the testing],” Fultz said.
During the Cure Bus visit, residents can get tested for Hepatitis C with a finger prick and have results in 15 minutes. For those positive, medications will be shipped directly to the home.
“If the patient has a positive result, they will follow up in person or on the phone the same day,” Fultz said. “They’ll provide education about the mediation, they’ll do some prevention things with them and talk to them about safety techniques.”
Fultz said they hope for a good turn out to the event to help as many people as they can.
The service also offers HIV screenings, blood work, a provider consult and educational material.
Fultz said there may be some confirmatory labs done to initiate the process of providing the correct medication to the patient.
The program will be little to no cost, encouraging anyone interested to get tested.
Appointments can be made by calling (740) 999-HEPC or at hepcmyway.com. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.