Hepatitis C Program
- Identify individuals
- Link individuals to care
- Provide information and educational materials
Information on Hepatitis C:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Hep C page
- Texas Department of State Health Services Hep C page
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is hepatitis?
“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. Toxins, certain drugs, some diseases, 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.
Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are diseases caused by three different viruses. Although each can cause similar symptoms, they have different modes of transmission and can affect the liver differently. Hepatitis A appears only as an acute or newly occurring infection and does not become chronic. People with Hepatitis A usually improve without treatment. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can also begin as acute infections, but in some people, the virus remains in the body, resulting in chronic disease and long-term liver problems. There are vaccines to prevent Hepatitis A and B; however, there is not one for Hepatitis C. If a person has had one type of viral hepatitis in the past, it is still possible to get the other types.
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 C can be either “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 Hepatitis 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?
Recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
- If you born between 1945 through 1965.
- If you are a current or former injection drug user, even if you injected only one time or many years ago.
- If you were treated for a blood clotting problem before 1987.
- If you received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992.
- If you are on long-term hemodialysis treatment.
- If you have abnormal liver tests or liver disease.
- If you work in health care or public safety and were exposed to blood through a needle stick or other sharp object injury.
- You are infected with HIV.
What are the symptoms of acute Hepatitis C?
Approximately 70%–80% of people with acute Hepatitis C do not have any symptoms. Some people, however, can have mild to severe symptoms soon after being infected, including:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored bowel movements
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or eyes)
How do I get tested?
Talk to your doctor about being tested for Hepatitis C.
What do I do if I know that I have Hepatitis C?
Contact (915)212-6673 to schedule an appointment.
I have health insurance will the program still be able to assist me?
Yes, if you have health coverage the program will be able to assist you.
I do not have health insurance will the program still be able to assist me?
Yes, if you do not have health insurance the program will be able to assist you.
What are your hours of operation?
The program is open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. CLOSED on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
What services do your program offer?
The primary focus of the program is to link individuals to care. However, depending on each individual’s need other services may be available through other Public Health Department programs and community resources.
How common is acute Hepatitis C in the United States?
In 2014, there were an estimated 30,500 cases of acute hepatitis C virus infections reported in the United States.
An estimated 2.7-3.9 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C, with an estimated 22,000 cases within the El Paso community.
Approximately 75%–85% of people who become infected with Hepatitis C virus develop chronic infection.