Hepatitis C Virus
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Hepatitis C (HCV) Testing

HCV Testing

HIV Alliance offers FREE, confidential OraQuick Rapid Tests (results in 20 minutes).

This means that we administer a quick finger prick blood test with quick and accurate results.

We are currently able to test people in populations with a high prevalence of HCV. We recommend that high-risk populations test for HCV every 6 weeks.

High-risk populations include:

  • People who inject drugs (PWID) 
  • People who had tattoos or body piercings in an unclean environment using unsterile equipment.
  • People who worked in a place where you came in contact with infected blood or needles, for example, healthcare worker.
  • People who have received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992.
  • People with HIV or other STIs.
  • People who live with or are partners of people with HCV.
  • People born between 1945 – 1965.

We are also able to test those who are not considered “at-risk” on Mondays.

Those who do not fit into the high risk categories are welcome to come in 5-7 pm on Mondays.  

For more information on testing days and times please visit our testing calendar.

 

Hepatitis (HCV) Community Health Program

CHW

The HCV Community Health Program at HIV Alliance is designed to help people living with HCV in Lane County to stabilize and maintain their health through support, advocacy, referral services, and emergency financial assistance.  Clients struggling to meet basic needs can work with our Community Health Worker to access transportation and nutrition assistance.

In September 2014, we began a partnership with Food For Lane County to insure that our HCV clients are receiving healthy food on a regular basis.

 

Hepatitis C (HCV) Treatment

HCV2

The better you take care of yourself, the slower that the damage to the liver. On average, it takes 20 years to develop symptoms for chronic HCV. With alcohol or HIV, the average number drops to 7 years. So whether or not medicine is available, taking better care of your body will help.

There are 6 HCV genotypes. Treatment success is dependent on genotype and has a 40 – 80% chance of being successful. All genotypes result in the same level of liver damage.

Side effects of medicine include flu-like symptoms, muscle and joint pain, nausea, headaches, loss of appetite, dry skin anxiety, insomnia, and depression. They vary greatly in number and severity based on the person.

 

Hepatitis (HCV) FAQs

HCV3

  • HCV was officially identified in 1989
  • There are 6 different genotypes of HCV; 75% of people w/HCV have Genotype 1, which is the hardest one to treat
  • The most common and severe symptom of HCV is fatigue.
  • There is no correlation between a person’s health and the concentration (viral load) of the HCV the person has (in terms of the health of the liver).
  • Sexual transmission is low-risk for transmitting HCV because it is transmitted from blood to blood.
  • There is some controversy about the risk associated with sexual transmission of HCV because many people who believe they acquired the disease through sexual activity also had other risk factors for acquiring HCV, such as intravenous drug use.
  • It is estimated that the risk of an HCV positive mother passing the virus on to her baby at birth is about 3-5%.  These numbers are only estimates, however, because many studies of HCV do not include people in prisons or the homeless.
  • When a person first contracts HCV they need to limit their fat intake.  When the disease is more progressed they need to limit protein intake because the liver develops problems with processing protein.
  • HCV puts a person at increased risk for acquiring liver cancer.
  • About one quarter of HIV-infected persons in the United States are also infected with HCV. Those that contracted HIV through injection drug use have a co-infection rate between 50-90%.
  • HCV is one of the most important causes of chronic liver disease in the United States and liver damage resulting from HCV infection progresses more rapidly in HIV-infected persons. HCV infection may also impact the course and management of HIV infection.
  • HCV lives longer outside the body than HIV, and is infectious for at least 16 hours and up to 4 days. If you are protecting yourself against HCV, you are also protecting yourself against HIV.

 

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

HCV1

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus that is transmitted by blood only.   The word Hepatitis literally means “inflammation of the liver.”  Hepatitis can be caused by viruses (such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C), or by drugs, medicine, alcohol, toxins, autoimmune disease, and bacteria.  The liver itself performs over 500 bodily functions and when damaged can impact the functioning and health of other organs in the body.  Complications of long term liver disease include:

  • Impotence
  • Fatigue
  • Pressure in spleen & intestines
  • Weakened blood vessels in esophagus & stomach
  • Fluid accumulation in the abdomen
  • Fluid build-up in the feet & ankles
  • Toxin-related impaired cognitive function

 

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

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  • “Hepatitis” literally means “inflammation of the liver”
  • HCV Is a blood-borne virus, transmitted blood-to-blood, that damages the liver
  • The liver is a vital organ with over 500 functions – we cannot live without a liver.  It is a “non-complaining” organ –  it has no nerve endings to feel pain due to damage or injury
  • The most common way that HCV is transmitted is through sharing injection drug equipment like syringes; it can also be transmitted through contaminated instruments used in tattooing or piercing, or through sharing personal care items like razors, tweezers, clippers and toothbrushes.
  • HCV can be sexually transmitted but the risk is considered to be low
  • HCV is a hearty virus and can live up to 4 days on a surface like a table, and can live up to 63 days inside a syringe
  • Approximately 20% of people who have Hep C have the acute type which presents with symptoms like a severe flu but resolves itself within 6 months; the remaining 80% have chronic Hepatitis C which generally has no symptoms and people can have it for 20-30 years without knowing it
  • Approximately 3-5% of HCV infected mothers pass on the virus to their babies
  • Hepatitis A, B and C are completely separate viruses and are only found in humans.  There are vaccines for Hepatitis A and B
  • There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C
  • There are new drugs like Sovaldi and Olysio that can cure Hepatitis C but they are still very expensive and not available to everyone – consult your doctor

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Copyright 2015 HIV Alliance.

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