Home » Hepatitis C, the Region confirms free screening also for 2024 – Health

Hepatitis C, the Region confirms free screening also for 2024 – Health

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Hepatitis C, the Region confirms free screening also for 2024 – Health

Donini: “A simple blood test to protect ourselves and others”
The screening does not require a medical prescription and is aimed at those born between 1969 and 1989 registered in the health registry, at people followed by SerDs and at prisoners in prison, in both cases regardless of the year of birth and nationality

February 27, 2024 – Thehepatitis C it is a disease caused by virus HCV that can remain latent even for a long time, slowly compromising the liver.

Those who develop it in a chronic form, in most cases present no symptoms or only general symptoms, such as depression and tiredness, but the infection can evolve into very serious forms.

To locate it, all you need is a blood test, without a ticket or medical prescription. It is possible to do this, in Emilia Romagnathrough the free screening test, that the Emilia-Romagna Region has also confirmed for 2024with the aim of intercepting the pathology in time and providing the right therapies to all positive cases identified.

I am three types of recipientsidentified by the Ministry of Health, to which the screening campaignwhich was launched at the beginning of 2022: citizens born between 1969 and 1989 (therefore of an age included between 35 and 55 years) registered in the health register (including Foreigners temporarily present – STP); the people followed by Public services for addictions (SerD) ei prisoners in prisonin both cases regardless of age and country of origin.

Overall, al December 31, 2023I am 434,846 tests carried outthrough which they have been 816 positive cases identified (1.9 per thousand) to the confirmatory test performed on the same blood sample in the event of a positive screening test. An important fact concerns the participation: In the 2023in fact, they are almost double the membership to the prevention initiative by target citizens, increased from 17.9% of 2022 al 32.0% last year.

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In Emilia-Romagna the proportion between the positive cases found and the number of people, between 35 and 55 years old, who underwent the test, i.e. il “detection rate”, and so even a 1: this means that for every thousand people tested, 1 positive is identifiedwhich can thus be assisted and treated.

A person who, if he had not joined the regional screening campaign, would not have discovered that he had contracted the HCV virus, nor would he have visited a specialist or started therapeutic treatment. Also for this reason, to promote awareness of the importance of joining the screening and letting citizens know how to participate, the Regional health service has relaunched the campaign of comunication “You have to think about it”with video and radio spots, information on social media and printed material.

“Screening, also for hepatitis C, is a fundamental secondary prevention tool – underlines the councilor for health policies, Raffaele Donini– because it allows us to identify cases that have not yet been diagnosed, the so-called ‘underground’, people unaware of having contracted the disease who in this way can be taken care of by the public health service and access treatment. We are satisfied with the success of the campaign, but we need to do even better. The invitation, therefore, that I address to those who fall within this target, is to undergo the test: a simple, free blood test is enough to protect your own health and that of others. Helping to combat the spread of a disease that can have serious effects on health.”

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Screening in Emilia-Romagna: data as of 31 December 2023

Overall, from the beginning of 2022, there are 1,359,915 citizens targeted for screening in Emilia-Romagna, in the three envisaged categories: 1,329,769 born between 1969 and 1989, 23,159 followed by SerDs and 6,897 prisoners. As of December 31, 2023, 434,846 took the test of screening, equal to 32,0%; of these for 816 (1.9 per thousand of those who carried out the screening) the positivity was confirmed by the subsequent test. 748 were sent to specialist treatment centers and 570 began therapeutic treatment. In fact, there is an effective antiviral therapy that is simple to take and safe: approximately 95% of the people treated recover completely, eliminating the infection. To date, however, there is no vaccine.

Data as of December 31, 2023 (399.73 KB)

“You have to think about it”: the communication campaign of the regional health service

“What if for a minute you thought about avoiding the risks of hepatitis C?” This is the invitation that the video spot, created as part of the communication campaign of the Regional Health Service entitled “You have to think about”, addresses citizens aged between 35 and 55, to raise awareness of the importance of taking part in the tests screening. The campaign will continue until February 29ththrough radio spots, social media and information materials at healthcare facilities.

All information is available on the Region’s website, on the landing page of the communication campaign www.screeningepatitec.it

The campaign poster

How to join hepatitis C screening

The invitation to the citizens who are recipients of the initiative (born between 1969 and 1989), it takes place via the electronic health record (EHR) and the sending of a text message describing how to access the HCV REFLEX service (with venous blood sampling).

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The reservation it can be carried out through Fse, Cup counter, Cup Web and Er Salute App, without the need for a prescription and without paying a ticket. It is also possible to participate in screening during other blood tests by adding screening tests for the hepatitis C virus, without necessarily having to carry out a dedicated sample.

Specific antibodies against the hepatitis C virus are initially searched for on the blood sample and subsequently, in case of positivity in this first test, the presence of the genetic material of the virus itself is searched for. In case of failure you receive the report in your electronic health record; in case of positive outcomethe citizen is taken care of by the specialist reference center identified by the health authority, which contacts him and arranges the specialist visit (always without a prescription or payment of a copay).

As far as SerD is concerned, continues the activity already underway for HCV research in subjects who are followed by the Services, regardless of age and nationality. In case of positive outcome the SerD doctor guarantees the patient’s referral to a specialist visit and treatment follow-up.
Even within the penitentiary institutions the screening activity for HCV already underway continues, and specialist care for cases testing positive continues.

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