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Hepatitis C Virus-HCV Education, Counseling, & Rapid Testing

Hepatitis C Virus-HCV Education, Counseling, & Rapid Testing

What is hepatitis? 

“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. Toxins, certain drugs, some disease, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis. Hepatitis is also the name of a family of viral infections that affect the liver; the most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.

 

HCV-Hepatitis C Virus 

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. It results from infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) which is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. Hepatitis can with be “acute” or “chronic.”

 

Acute Hepatitis C virus infection: is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis C virus. For most people acute infection leads to chronic infection. 

Chronic Hepatitis C virus infection: is a long-term illness that occurs when the Hep C virus remains in a person’s body Hepatitis C virus infection can last a lifetime and lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.

 

Who should get tested? 

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO):

Clients who could benefit from a HCV test:

  • Persons who inject drugs (PWID or IDU) or have ever injected drugs
  • Persons who have HIV infection
  • Persons with liver disease of unknown etiology (i.e. elevated ALT/AST)
  • Persons engaging in intranasal cocaine use and other non-injecting illegal drug use
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Persons who engage in transactional sex work for money or drugs
  • Persons who were ever on long-term hemodialysis
  • Persons who received a transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992, or clotting factor concentrates produced before 1987.
  • Persons with a history of tattooing or body piercing if the procedure was done where infection control practices are substandard.
  • Persons with a long-term steady sexual partner who is HCV-positive
  • Persons who have been or are currently incarcerated

 

One time testing:

  • Persons born from 1945-1965

Testing based on recognized exposure:

  • Healthcare, emergency medical and public safety workers after needle sticks, sharps, or mucosal exposures to HCV-positive blood.
  • Children born to a HCV-infected mother (to avoid detecting maternal antibody, these children should not be tested before age 18 months).

 

Free Rapid HCV Testing 

The test used in an OraQuick OraSure HCV Rapid Antibody Test with results available in 20 minutes. The test is conducted using a simple finger stick to get a blood sample. If the result is presumptive positive, we will refer for a follow up RNA test to confirm the result to either the local health department or a laboratory. If the laboratory results come back positive we will provide assistance with linking to care.

HCV Testing takes place at the ARE offices by appointment. 

For all testing inquiries, please contact 540-536-5333 or 540-536-2971.