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Hepatitis C Test & Cure

Hepatitis C Test & Cure

Committed to making the most of recent advances in medicine that can improve the lives of thousands suffering from chronic hepatitis infection.

Hepatitis C Test and Cure Program

Hepatitis C facts

Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), a blood-borne virus. There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C but there is, however, a cure. A simple blood test can tell if you have hepatitis C infection.

  • Chronic hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, and severely impact the quality of life of those living with it.

  • Because they are not clinically ill, the majority of infected persons are not aware of their infection for years, even decades.

  • There are an estimated 3.5 million Americans currently living with chronic hepatitis C infection; many of them don’t know it.

    Each year, over 60% of the new cases of hepatitis C in King County are Baby Boomers.

  • For every 100 people infected with hepatitis C:  
    • 75-85 people will develop chronic hepatitis C infection; of those
    • 60-70 people will go on to develop chronic liver disease
    • 20 people will then develop cirrhosis over a period of 20-30 years
    • 1-5 people will die from cirrhosis or liver failure.  On average. That's 26 Americans a day, more than those who die from HIV-related illnesses.
Finding out your status is easy—just a quick blood test.
For every 100 people infected with HCV...
  • Baby Boomers
    People born between 1945-1965

    • People born between 1945-1965 (Baby Boomers) are 5 times more likely to have hepatitis C infection and account for 75% of people living with hepatitis C. If you are a Baby Boomer, the CDC recommends you get a blood test for hepatitis C (see testing locations below.)

    • Why is that? The reason is not completely understood. Most baby boomers are thought to have been infected in the 1970s and 1980s when rates of HCV were the highest. HCV is primarily spread through contact with blood from an infected person. Many baby boomers could have gotten infected from contaminated blood and blood products before widespread screening of the blood supply began in 1992 and universal precautions were adopted. Others may have become infected from injecting drugs, even if only once in the past. Many baby boomers do not know how or when they were infected.

  • Injection drugs users
    Current and former

    • Hepatitis C is most easily transmitted through blood exposure or sharing of needles and injection equipment exposed to blood.

    • Because they don't have obvious symptoms, many injection drug users are not aware that they have hepatitis C.

    • If you are either a current OR former injection drug user, the CDC recommends you get a blood test for hepatitis C. It's quick and easy.

Know your status, know your optionsIf you are in one of the risk groups above – either a Baby Boomer OR you currently or have ever used injection drugs, a routine screening for hepatitis C is strongly advised. Many people without symptoms are unaware that they have hepatitis C infection.

Why get tested for hepatitis C

  • Knowing your hep C status can save your liver. And saving your liver can save your life.
  • When you know your status, you can take better care of yourself.  You can also protect others.
  • Testing is quick and easy – just a simple blood draw.

Your regular health care provider

Most general practitioners can conduct a hepatitis C test in their office. If you don’t have a regular provider, there are several community clinics and resources that offer hepatitis C testing.

Community HCV testing locations:

Hepatitis Education Project
Free testing
Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm*
*Call for appointment
911 Western Avenue Suite 302
Seattle, WA 98104

Seattle Area Support Groups
Free testing third Thursday 6:00 – 7:30pm
115 15th Avenue E.
Seattle, WA 98112

Evergreen Treatment Services
Free testing first & third Thursday 11:00am – 2:00pm
Second and Fourth Thursday 8:30am – 11:30am
1700 Airport Way South #1
Seattle, WA 98134

People’s Harm Reduction Alliance (Syringe Exchange)
Free testing Friday 1:00 – 5:00pm
U-District in the alley of the University Temple United Methodist Church
1415 NE 43rd Street
Seattle, WA 98105

Public Health STD Clinic
Monday 8:00am – 4:30pm
Tuesday 9:30am – 4:30pm
Wednesday – Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm
908 Jefferson Street #1110
Seattle, WA 98104

Public Health
Robert Clewis Center (Syringe Exchange)*

Free testing at two locations:
July 25 – 29, 2016 / 1:00 – 4:30pm
October 24 – 28, 2016 / 1:00 – 4:30pm
January 23 – 27, 2017 / 1:00 – 4:30pm
*Downtown (4th & Blanchard)
2124 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA

*Capitol Hill (between Madison & Union)
1161 11th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

Gay City
Free testing (donations accepted)
Monday – Friday 3:00 – 8:00pm
Saturday 12:30 – 5:00pm
517 East Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98122

Until recently, there was no cure for most people with hepatitis C infection. Now there is.

  • Before, treatments for hepatitis C were often ineffective and had many harsh side effects. Now they’re highly effective and easy to tolerate.
  • Most new treatments are interferon-free.
  • Over 85% of people treated get cured. That means their bodies become completely free of hepatitis C. Before the new treatments, this wasn’t possible.
  • Treatment usually lasts for just 12 weeks.

Treatment will stop continued damage to your liver. It may even reverse damage already done.

Because the treatments are relatively new and expensive, accessing them is not always easy. The Test & Cure program is designed to help those who qualify for care get the treatment they need.

  • Treatment may be covered by insurance, Medicaid or patient assistance programs. We have experts to help determine if you qualify.
  • Not everyone immediately qualifies for treatment. Sometimes getting your treatment paid for by insurance takes time and persistence.

Have you been living with hepatitis C?
If you’ve been living with hepatitis C, your health and well-being have probably suffered. Now you don’t have to live with hepatitis C. We can help you find the right treatment for you.
HEP is the Hepatitis Education Project. Their medical case managers are experts at helping people living with hepatitis C to get the right treatment. If you qualify for care, HEP can help you through the hurdles so you can get the treatment you deserve.
Call HEP to make an appointment: 206-732-0311.

Read our stories:

Al's story“I’m 63 and I’ve lived with hep C my entire adult life. Most of that time I didn’t even know it. My infection came from a tattoo needle just before my seventeenth birthday. Back then, there was no name for hep C, no awareness of how easily it’s transferred through blood.

But by ’92, I’d noticed health issues I couldn’t explain or understand. Constant headaches, extreme fatigue and flu like symptoms that plagued me every day.

In ’95, advanced testing finally revealed I had the hep C virus and that it was scarring my liver. Untreated, it could lead to liver cancer, or death, facts that now affected every aspect of my life.

I swore I’d do whatever it took to kill the virus and began a course of treatments that lasted 22 years and exposed me to six separate protocols. The early drugs were worse than the disease. They left me confused, depressed, exhausted and anemic.

Many of us participated in study groups to help develop new drugs and it paid off. They’ve found a cure.

Last year, after 24 weeks on the new drugs, the results I’d prayed for became reality. I was completely cured of hep C! The doc gave me the news just before Thanksgiving and yes, I had much to be thankful for.

Today, we know a lot more about hep C than we used to. We know how it’s transmitted, how to avoid infection and most importantly, how to test for and cure it!

If you’re a Baby Boomer, or if you suspect that you or someone you were intimate with engaged in high risk behaviors, please, get tested!

There’s no shame or reason for embarrassment. Hepatitis C was not your choice. But today, you can choose to live a longer and healthier life without hep C. You can be there for those you love and who love you. Hep C is for real and there’s no reason you have to live with it anymore.”

If you’re born between 1945 and 1965, please get screened for hep C. The relief of knowing your status is worth the time to test."

Al's story is true.

Ashley's story"Eight months ago I got tested…

And found out I have hepatitis C. Honestly, I was pretty surprised. I thought I’d been careful. I didn’t share any needles, didn’t share any works – except with my boyfriend. And now we’ve both got this virus.

But you know what? I’m not freaking out.  I’m just taking care of it – because nowadays, you can.

First, I got my hep A and B vaccines right away to be protected. Then HEP helped me get into care. Now doctors are waiting to see if my body gets rid of the hep C virus on its own. (That sometimes happens.) If it doesn’t in the next few months, they’ve got a cure – and you better believe I’m going to get it.

Look, I’m not ashamed of the life I’ve lived. I’ve survived two overdoses and a helluva lot more than that. Drugs were just my way of coping with the world. That doesn’t mean I deserve to live with hepatitis C. I don’t.

And you don’t. Get tested.  Knowing your status gives you power. It gives you choices.”

I’ve got hep C but I’m not freaking out.
I’m taking care of it. You can too.”

Ashley's story is true.

Jim's story“I was shooting drugs and trusted somebody I shouldn’t have. When I found out, I was scared and embarrassed. I couldn’t even talk about it.

But at least I wasn’t sick... yet. So I didn’t do anything about it.

I had a 20-year drug habit and was in and out of jail. Hep C just seemed like one more thing I was too scared to get help for.

But not anymore. Last year, I heard about the new hep C treatments. There’s a cure.

I’d been in recovery for a while. Then along came this chance to really improve my health. It took persistence but I found a doctor who hooked me up to a clinical trial. Eventually, I got the treatment.

And it worked. Today there’s no hep C virus in my body.

The treatment had almost no side effects. I feel so much better! And I feel better about myself. I’m back to drumming. And I’m doing what I can to help others who have hep C. Because we don’t have to feel shitty about ourselves. There’s help.

If I can do this, you can too.”

Today there’s no hep C virus in my body.
I feel better. And I feel better about myself.”

Jim's story is true.

Sylvia's story“Ten years ago I stopped shooting drugs... And then I found out I had hep C.

At the time, all I knew was there was no cure. There was interferon. But doctors told me treatment with that drug would play hell on my health. So I waited. And I waited. Alternative treatments help some. But even then, constant fatigue is slowing me down something terrible. I want me back.

Now there's a way to get rid of hep C once and for all.

It’s a cure. I'm not going to lie – it takes some patience to become eligible for the drugs. But I'm worth it. Now I'm in a patient assistance program and the folks at HEP are with me every step of the way.

I will get this cure.

I'm not giving up. There's nothing to be ashamed of for having hep C. Wherever you are in your life, it's worth it to find out your status – and if you've got hep C...go for the cure.

You better believe I’m going for the cure.
And HEP is with me every step of the way.”

Sylvia's story is true.

About Test & Cure

Funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), King County's Test & Cure program is committed to making the most of recent advances in medicine that can save the livers and improve the lives of thousands suffering from chronic hepatitis infection. This project is a collaboration between PHSKC, Group Health, Harborview, Healthpoint, Hepatitis Education Project, Neighborcare, Country Doctor and Swedish Medical Center.