Home Access Hepatitis C Check Test Service Offers Fast, Convenient Results For People Notified In Lookback Program

May 05, 1999, 01:00 ET from Home Access Health Corporation

    HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Food and Drug
 Administration's recent approval of the Home Access(R) Hepatitis C Check(SM)
 Test Service offers a fast, convenient method for people to learn if they've
 been exposed to the virus.
     "Within four to five days after the laboratory receives the sample, people
 worried about their exposure to the hepatitis C virus can know if they need to
 see a physician," said Allan Frank, M.D., Medical Director at Home Access
 Health, which developed the test service.
     Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to get letters from blood
 banks and hospitals informing them that they may have been exposed to
 hepatitis C during blood transfusions prior to 1992 as part of U.S. Department
 of Health and Human Service Hepatitis C Lookback Program.  An estimated 4
 million Americans are believed to have hepatitis C, and most of them don't
 know it.
     "A few of the blood banks are offering free hepatitis C testing for the
 pre-1992 blood transfusion recipients.  For those receiving letters who aren't
 offered such a service, the Home Access Hepatitis C Check Service will be
 available beginning in June," said Frank.  The test service, which will cost
 $69.95, will be available by calling 1-888-888-HEPC or visiting the company's
 website at www.homeaccess.com.
     The Home Access Hepatitis C Check at-home service combines telephone
 registration/pre-test counseling, collection of a blood sample, shipping,
 laboratory testing, telephone results retrieval, post-test counseling and
 referrals to medical specialists skilled in the treatment of hepatitis C.  At
 the lab, Home Access Health will run the same tests used by physicians and
 hospitals to identify hepatitis C antibodies in the blood sample.  Results are
 available within 5 days of the laboratory receiving the sample.  Test results,
 healthcare counseling and referrals to medical professionals are available 24
 hours a day, except holidays.
     As many as 500,000 Americans may have been exposed to hepatitis C through
 transfusions with tainted blood or blood products prior to 1992.  Since then,
 sensitive screening tests have been employed on the nation's blood supply and
 the chances of getting hepatitis C from transfusions are very low.
     Hepatitis C kills up to 10,000 Americans annually, and the death rate is
 expected to triple by the year 2010.  The infection may lead to cirrhosis
 (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer.  Hepatitis C virus is the leading
 cause of liver transplantation in the United States.
     Home Access Health is the only company providing FDA-approved, at-home
 telemedicine testing and counseling services for individuals wanting to know
 their HIV and HCV status.  Home Access Health is a leading provider of
 clinical research, project management and medical call center services to
 pharmaceutical companies, diagnostic companies and government agencies.  For
 more information call 1-888-888-HEPC or visit www.homeaccess.com.

SOURCE Home Access Health Corporation