Free Hepatitis C Screening
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, sometimes leading to serious liver damage. Free testing is available at DAP Health's Sexual Wellness Clinic in Palm Springs and Indio.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. Today, most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for 70%–85% of people who become infected with the hepatitis C virus, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, even death. Many people might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The best way to prevent hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs.
How is Hepatitis C Spread?
Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, Hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants.
People can become infected with the Hepatitis C virus during such activities as
Sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs
Needlestick injuries in health care settings
Being born to a mother who has Hepatitis C
Less commonly, a person can also get Hepatitis C virus infection through
Sharing personal care items that may have come in contact with another person’s blood, such as razors or toothbrushes
Having sexual contact with a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus
Are You at Risk for Hepatitis C?
Some people are at increased risk for Hepatitis C, including
- Current injection drug users (currently the most common way Hepatitis C virus is spread in the United States)
- Past injection drug users, including those who injected only one time or many years ago
- Recipients of donated blood, blood products, and organs (once a common means of transmission but now rare in the United States since blood screening became available in 1992)
- People who received a blood product for clotting problems made before 1987
- Hemodialysis patients or persons who spent many years on dialysis for kidney failure
- People who received body piercing or tattoos done with non-sterile instruments
- People with known exposures to the Hepatitis C virus, such as
- Health care workers injured by needlesticks
- Recipients of blood or organs from a donor who tested positive for the Hepatitis C virus
- HIV-infected persons
- Children born to mothers infected with the Hepatitis C virus
Less common risks include:
- Having sexual contact with a person who is infected with the Hepatitis C virus
- Sharing personal care items, such as razors or toothbrushes, that may have come in contact with the blood of an infected person
How Serious is Hepatitis C?
Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, including liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer, or even death. It is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States. Approximately 15,000 people die every year from Hepatitis C related liver disease.
Hepatitis Center of Excellence
Our Hepatitis Center of Excellence offers state-of-the-art treatment for Hepatitis C, including;
- Physicians and pharmacists who specialize in Hepatitis care
- Most insurance plans accepted, including Medicare and Medi-Cal
- Uninsured income-qualified patients can receive care at reduced costs