Where Can You Get More Information
Your doctor, nurse, or health care clinic listed in the telephone directory can provide you with more information.
Persons who inject drugs can substantially reduce their risk of getting and transmitting HIV, viral hepatitis and other blood borne infections by using a sterile needle and syringe for every injection. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health supports programs where persons who inject drugs can access sterile needles and syringes through syringe services programs . Through these programs you can get sterile needles and syringes free of cost, dispose of used needles and syringes, and get connected to other services such as testing for hepatitis C, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, overdose education, and narcan . To find an MDPH-supported SSP program near you, please click here.
Hepatitis C and Related Resources in Massachusetts This provides information about MDPH-supported programs including testing for hepatitis C, linkage to treatment for individuals with hepatitis C infection, and other resources such as overdose prevention programs.
Additional information about substance use disorder treatment programs may be obtained from the MDPH.
Viral Hepatitis Information from the CDC. The CDC provides resources on a variety of topics, including general information regarding transmission and prevention, statistics about HCV, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C.
National Prevention Information Network
NPIN Community is an interactive online forum used to connect, share, and collaborate with other public health professionals, partners, and CDC stakeholders. This forum allows for active discussion on best practices, resources, and challenges related to HIV, sexually transmitted diseases , viral hepatitis, tuberculosis and Adolescent and School Health). The NPIN Community consists of groups of like-minded professionals looking to stay at the forefront of their field by accessing the information and resources made available within the Community.
As a member, you can:
|Connect Through the Community, those in the field of public health discuss and collaborate with each other to enhance their work and professional development.|
|The Communitys private and secure online setting provides members with an ideal platform to share resources, reports, case studies, assets, and tools together as a hub to facilitate project completion.|
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How do you join?To join NPIN Community, go to the right hand column of this page and click on Create an Account. Be sure to fill out all the required information and submit your access request.
CDC WARNING BANNER
Why Test All Your Adult Patients
- New cases of hepatitis C are on the rise, particularly among reproductive age adults. Rates of new HCV infections increased by more than 60% from 2015 to 2019. And in 2019, more than 63% of HCV infections occurred among adults 20-39 years of age.
- Your patients arent aware of their risk. Almost half of people with hepatitis C are unaware of their infection. Testing is the first step to accessing curative treatment. Without treatment, approximately 15-20% of adults with chronic HCV infection will develop progressive liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.
- Hepatitis C can be cured. Over 90 percent of people infected with HCV can be cured with 8-12 weeks of oral therapy. Treatment of hepatitis C is associated with reductions in mortality among persons with chronic hepatitis C.
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Pregnancy And Hepatitis C
Should pregnant women be tested for HCV antibodies?
Yes. All pregnant women should be screened for anti-HCV during each pregnancy, except in settings where the prevalence of HCV infection is < 0.1% . Pregnant women with known risk factors should be tested during each pregnancy, regardless of setting prevalence. Any pregnant women testing positive for anti-HCV should receive a PCR test for HCV RNA to determine current infection status.
Can a mother with hepatitis C infect her infant during birth?
The overall risk of an infected mother transmitting HCV to her infant is approximately 4%8% per pregnancy . Transmission occurs during pregnancy or childbirth, and no prophylaxis is available to protect the newborn from infection. The risk is significantly higher if the mother has a high HCV viral load, or is coinfected with HIV with which the rate of transmission ranges from 8%15% . Most infants infected with HCV at birth have no symptoms.
Should a woman with hepatitis C be advised against breastfeeding?
When should children born to HCV-infected mothers be tested to see if they were infected at birth?
How Is Hepatitis C Transmitted
Because HCV is primarily spread through contact with infected blood, people who inject drugs are at increased risk for HCV infection. HCV can also be transmitted from an infected mother to child at the time of birth, from unregulated tattoos or body piercings, and from sharing personal items that may be contaminated with infected blood, even in amounts too small to see. Much less often, HCV transmission occurs through sexual contact with an HCV-infected partner, especially among people with multiple sex partners and men who have sex with men. Currently in the United States, health care related transmission of HCV is rare, but people can become infected from accidental needle sticks and from breaches in infection control practices in health care facilities.
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Who Is At Risk For Hepatitis C
Some people are at increased risk for hepatitis C, including:
- Current injection drug users .
- Past injection drug users, including those who injected only one time or many years ago.
- Recipients of donated blood, blood products, and organs .
- People who received a blood product made before 1987 for clotting problems.
- Hemodialysis patients or persons who spent many years on dialysis for kidney failure.
- People who received body piercing or tattoos done with non-sterile instruments.
- People with known exposures to the hepatitis C virus, such as:
- Health care workers injured by needlesticks.
- Recipients of blood or organs from a donor who tested positive for the hepatitis C virus.
Less common risks include:
- Having sexual contact with a person who is infected with the hepatitis C virus.
- Sharing personal care items, such as razors or toothbrushes, that may have come in contact with the blood of an infected person.
Wisconsin Hepatitis C Program
The Wisconsin Hepatitis C Program is the lead agency in Wisconsin responsible for coordinating the states public health activities focused on the prevention, detection, and treatment of hepatitis C.
COVID-19 impact on people with hepatitis C
Learn how the Hepatitis C Program is impacted by COVID-19.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus . Hepatitis C is spread through contact with blood from an infected person. Today, most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment used to prepare and inject drugs. For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness, but for more than half of people with the hepatitis C virus, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. People with chronic hepatitis C can often have no symptoms and dont feel sick. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The best way to prevent hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs. Getting tested for hepatitis C is important, because treatments can cure most people with hepatitis C in 8 to 12 weeks..
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How Does The Program Work
Participation on the part of inmates is voluntary and there is no cost to the inmate while incarcerated or after release. DOCS Health Services staff and facility Parole Officers work with inmates prior to initiation of treatment to:
- Arrange participation
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What Is Hepatitis C
- It is a contagious liver disease that damages the liver.
- It can be acute, lasting only a few weeks, in 15-25% of individuals, resulting in a mild illness.
- It can be chronic unless successfully treated, resulting in liver damage, cirrhosis , and liver cancer.
- It is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person.
People who have chronic HCV often have no symptoms and can live for many years without feeling sick.
Symptoms of acute HCV include fever, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, dark urine, jaundice , and joint pain.
Symptoms of chronic HCV include jaundice, gastrointestinal bleeding, ascites , and mental changes .
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The Incidence Rate Of Acute Hepatitis C Has More Than Doubled Since 2013 And Increased 15% From 2019
In 2020, there was a change to how public health defines a case of acute hepatitis C. This more sensitive and accurate definition helped capture cases that the less sensitive definition might have missed in the past. The increase in 2020 however may still be an underestimate because of decreases in testing that occurred due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also in 2020, CDC published universal adult and pregnancy screening guidelines. It is important that health care professionals, public health officials, and organizations involved in the development, implementation, delivery, and evaluation of clinical and preventive services follow and use these recommendations.
Can Hcv Infection Be Prevented
The best protection against HCV is to never inject drugs. If you do inject drugs, always use new, sterile needles, and do not reuse or share needles, syringes, or other injection drug equipment.
People, including people with HIV, can also take the following steps to reduce their risk of HCV infection:
- Do not share toothbrushes, razors, or other personal items that may come in contact with another personâs blood.
- If you get a tattoo or body piercing, make sure the instruments used are sterile.
- Use condoms during sex. The risk of HCV infection through sexual contact is low, but the risk increases in people with HIV. Condoms also reduce the risk of HIV transmission and infection with other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and syphilis.
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How Does Drug Use Affect Symptoms And Outcomes Of A Viral Infection
Drug use can worsen the progression of HIV and its symptoms, especially in the brain. Studies show that drugs can make it easier for HIV to enter the brain and cause greater nerve cell injury and problems with thinking, learning, and memory. Drug and alcohol use can also directly damage the liver, increasing risk for chronic liver disease and cancer among those infected with HBV or HCV.
Considerations For Hepatitis C Cases Who Were Transplant Recipients
With the availability of curative treatment for HCV infection, an increasing number of transplant recipients are receiving organs from anti-HCV and HCV-RNA positive donors . This can result in transmission of hepatitis C to the recipient, which is then treated with DAA agents . In some jurisdictions, these expected donor-derived HCV transmissions might represent a significant proportion of new acute HCV infections therefore, jurisdictions are encouraged to reach out to transplant facilities and discuss public health reporting of expected donor-derived HCV infections.
A listing of transplant facilities in the United States, including facility location and phone number, can be found on the OPTN websiteexternal icon . As these patients are already linked to testing and treatment, the infections should be notified to CDC as new acute cases. However, the jurisdiction need not investigate beyond indicating that the infection was donor-derived.
Typically, there are two outstanding questions that only the public health jurisdiction can answer: 1) Did the recipient have any behavioral or other risks for hepatitis C and 2) Does the jurisdiction have any ongoing investigations of health care-associated hepatitis C that might be related to this investigation?
Table 4-3. Considerations for hepatitis C cases who were organ transplant recipients*
|Organ Recipient Pre-transplant|
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Consumer Campaign Messages And Materials
With the release of HCV testing guidelines in 2012, CDC launched the Know More Hepatitis campaign and added a prominent main message: CDC recommends that anyone born between 1945 and 1965 get tested for hepatitis C. Messages also highlighted the high prevalence of HCV infection among baby boomers and that, if left untreated, HCV infection could lead to liver cancer . Because the campaign’s formative research indicated a need for basic education, some campaign materials continued to relay general facts about hepatitis C. Other campaign materials attempted to dispel commonly held myths, such as only those kind of people get infected or that people would know they were infected with HCV because they would have symptoms.
What Are The Treatments For Hepatitis C
Treatment for hepatitis C is with antiviral medicines. They can cure the disease in most cases.
If you have acute hepatitis C, your health care provider may wait to see if your infection becomes chronic before starting treatment.
If your hepatitis C causes cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Treatments for health problems related to cirrhosis include medicines, surgery, and other medical procedures. If your hepatitis C leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.
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Fast Facts About Chronic Hepatitis C In 2020
During 2020, 64% of newly reported chronic hepatitis C cases occurred among men
During 2020, the rate of newly reported chronic hepatitis C cases was highest among AI/AN persons at 66.8 cases per 100,000 people
Chronic hepatitis C affects multiple generations with infections highest among two age groups: 20 39 and 55 70 years.
Fast Facts About Acute Hepatitis C In 2020
Persons aged 20-39 years had the highest incidence of acute hepatitis C
66% of cases with risk information reported injection drug use
During 2020, rates of acute hepatitis C were highest among males, persons 20-39 years of age, American Indian/Alaska Native persons, those who reported using injection drugs, and those living in the eastern and southeastern states.
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Case Reporting And National Notification
Cases of acute, chronic, and perinatal hepatitis C and hepatitis C during pregnancy should be reported to HDs as specified by state, territorial, or local regulations. Acute, chronic, and perinatal hepatitis C are nationally notifiable conditions . Hepatitis C cases are identified using an event code corresponding to the hepatitis C condition . Data are sent weekly or more frequently, depending on the infrastructure of the jurisdiction sending the data. Cases might be re-classified or removed as needed after the initial transmission to CDC, as long as the changes occur before surveillance data are finalized each year.
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How Can I Prevent Hepatitis C
Since there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, the best way to prevent hepatitis C infection is to avoid contact with the blood of infected people. This includes:
- If you shoot drugs, never share works with anyone. This includes all drug injection equipment that can get blood on or in it . Sterile syringes can be purchased over the counter in most pharmacies in Massachusetts by anyone 18 years of age or older. Find out about drug treatment programs that can help you stop using drugs.
- Only get tattoos or body piercings at places using sterile equipment and supplies.
- Never share razors, toothbrushes, or nail clippers
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Cdc Recommendations For Hepatitis C Screening Among Adults In The United States
- Universal hepatitis C screening:
- Hepatitis C screening at least once in a lifetime for all adults aged 18 years and older, except in settings where the prevalence of HCV infection is less than 0.1%*
- Hepatitis C screening for all pregnant women during each pregnancy, except in settings where the prevalence of HCV infection is less than 0.1%*
- Any person who requests hepatitis C testing should receive it, regardless of disclosure of risk, because many persons may be reluctant to disclose stigmatizing risks
How Is Hepatitis C Treated
Hepatitis C infection can be treated with special drugs that eliminate the virus from the body and prevent liver damage, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. People with hepatitis C should avoid drinking alcohol or taking any medications or dietary supplements that may be harmful to the liver. Hepatitis A and B vaccine may also be recommended. Many of the treatments available today are once-a-day pills taken for a few months ask your doctor about treatment options and steps you can take to protect your liver from damage.
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What Is Hepatitis
Hepatitis is any kind of inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis has many causes, including viruses , drugs, chemicals and alcohol, and even ones own immune system attacking the liver. At this time, there are five viruses known to affect the liver in particular. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. These viruses are very different from one another, but all are infectious and may cause similar symptoms. They differ in how they are spread, how long the infection lasts, and how they are treated. A healthcare provider can test a persons blood for infection with hepatitis A, B and C virus.