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