Hepatitis C Screening
In January of 2007 the Drug and Alcohol Commission, in partnership with the Clearfield-Jefferson Heroin Task Force, received funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Roche Pharmaceuticals and the DuBois Regional Medical Center to provide outreach, case management, and free Hepatitis C screenings to Clearfield and Jefferson County resident who have at least one risk factor.
In May of 2009, The Drug and Alcohol Commission was awarded the Rural Health Outreach Services Grant through the Office of Rural Health Policy. The Hepatitis C and Substance Abuse Expansion Grant provided expanded screening and education services.
What is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is known as the “silent” virus because most people living with Hepatitis C have no symptoms at all, yet damage to their liver still occurs. Hepatitis is inflammation (swelling) of the liver. The liver is one of the largest, most important organs in your body. The liver filters toxins from the blood.
When Hepatitis is caused by a virus, it is given a letter like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is the most common infection that is spread from blood to blood contact, even four times more common than HIV. If left untreated, Hepatitis C is the number one cause of advanced liver disease, liver cancer, and liver transplants.
Who should be screened?
Anyone who has at least one of the following risk factors for Hepatitis C should be screened.
Risk Factors for Hepatitis C include:
- IV drug use
- Snorting cocaine or other drugs
- Body piercing and acupuncture with unsterilized needles
- Non-sexual household contact such as sharing razors and/or toothbrushes
- Unprotected Sexual Transmission
- From pregnant mom to child
- Blood transfusions or major operations before 1992
- Other blood products before 1987
- Contact with another person’s blood through blood slash to the eyes, mouth, or onto broken skin
- Occupational exposure (medical, or dental worker, police, emt, firefighter)
- “Baby Boomers”- Born between 1945-1965
Why are baby boomers at risk?
Many of the baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) were infected decades ago before the virus was discovered in 1989. The virus may have been spread through injection drug use, unscreened blood transfusions, or other exposures in the healthcare setting. Forty-five percent (45%) of persons, who were infected, deny any risk factors for hepatitis C, such as injection drug use or history of blood transfusion. For this birth cohort, the prevalence for Hepatitis C is about five times higher than other ages.
Where can I receive screening services?
The Drug and Alcohol Commission offers FREE and CONFIDENTIAL Hepatitis C screenings for Clearfield and Jefferson County residents who identifies as has having at least one risk factor. Screenings are provided weekly in DuBois, Clearfield, and Punxsutawney, and other locations with special arrangements. The screening process takes only 30 minutes and patients receive their results the same day.
Why should I call now?
Patients treated early may respond better to therapy. So why wait? Call the Commission today to schedule an appointment or for more information.
Call CJDAC toll free at 1-800-892-9002
For more information about Hepatitis C visit:
Funding for Hepatitis C Screenings is made possible by:
- Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs
- Penn Highlands Health Center, Pennsylvania
- Clearfield-Jefferson Heroin Task Force